Message in a Bottle by Valerie Zenatti

Message in a Bottle

Written by Valerie Zenatti

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Shortlisted for the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation.

A poignant story of love across a war torn divide. Moved to think about those on the 'other side' after a suicide attack outside her home, seventeen year old Tal sends out a message in a bottle. Soon she is in contact with 'Gazaman' and the two develop a touching and supportive relationship despite all the history and politcs that divide them.

Translated by Adriana Hunter

The other titles shortlisted for the Marsh Award were Tina's Web, Letters From Alain, My Brother Johnny, When the Snow Fell, and Toby Alone.


Message in a Bottle by Valerie Zenatti

Following a suicide bomb attack on her local Jerusalem cafe, in which she and her friends could so easily have been its victims, a seventeen-year-old Israeli schoolgirl decides to send a message in a bottle to Gaza. An act of hope and desperation, Tal believes that by making contact with a Palestinian she will be able to begin a dialogue through which experiences can be shared, and, just possibly, some kind of mutual understanding achieved. Her message is found by a young man who calls himself Gazaman, and a remarkable email correspondence begins ...This is a mesmerising account of a turbulent relationship conducted between two people whose dialogue is in itself an act of revolution against the situations in which they both feel themselves to be trapped.


Praise for When I Was a Soldier: 'When so much teen fiction runs along a single monotonous track, it's refreshing to read a book from a totally different perspective.

'Zenatti's even-handed and undramatic narration makes it reasonably easy to leave preconceptions behind, and this accessible read teams with questions that readers will quickly realise relate directly to them.'

's Book of the Week, Guardian 'The book is an extraordinary insight into the psyche of a tiny nation that feels it must always be prepared for war. It brilliantly captures the mixture of the scary and surreal that comprises life for the young soldier.'

& Queen 'Zenatti sketches the history of the Middle East crisis as succinctly as possible without oversimplification. Yet her novel never trivialises or cheapens the grim, intractable situation by using it as the context for a will they, won't they? love story

About the Author

Valerie Zenatti

Valérie Zenatti was born in Nice on April Fool’s Day 1970. When she was thirteen she went to live with her parents in Israel, where she did her national service, which inspired her novel, When I was a Soldier. Even now she doesn’t go out without her survival kit — these days of a book, a notepad and a pen. Valérie now lives in Paris, where she works as a translator of Hebrew. She is also writing screenplays based on two of her books, Late for War and Message in a Bottle. Valérie is continually surprised and delighted at seeing Lucas, aged eight, and Nina, nearly two, grow up.

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Book Info


160 pages


Valerie Zenatti
More books by Valerie Zenatti

Author's Website


Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Publication date

7th April 2008




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