Brave Story, by Miyuki Miyabe
Disaster struck the Duchess this weekend when an insidious virus wormed its way into the Duchess's computer and ate everything in sight. Having no appreciable modern technology available by which to be distracted, the Duchess naturally took up with a book or two (or three).
One of the Duchess's daily doses of literature comes in the form of Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe, translated from the Japanese by Alexander O. Smith. The Duchess and her elder lord take nightly turns reading from this haunting, lyrical story about the world of fantasy that enraptures a young boy who struggles to find his own path and deal with the contemporaneous divorce of his parents.
Well over 800 pages, it certainly makes for slow going (especially when read aloud to -- and at turns by -- a five year old), but the Duchess truly appreciates a novel that spans the ages and is enjoyable to read by children and parents alike (and, of course, was written by a female novelist!).
In 2008 Brave Story received the Bachelder Award, which recognizes the most outstanding children's book originally published in a foreign language, in a foreign country, and subsequently translated into English. The award, in spirit, honors works that "eliminate barriers to understanding between people of different cultures, races, nations and languages."
The Duchess will bide her time in telling her young lords that Brave Story has also been adapted into several video games.