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A decade before his international acclaim for the His Dark Materials fantasy series, Pullman authored The Broken Bridge, a coming-of-age tale featuring Ginny, an Afro-British teenaged girl living in postmodern coastal Wales. The Broken Bridge delves into dilemmas of racial identity, ideologies of language and location, and aspects of non-Western religion that are not often touched upon in young adult literature. Pullman’s deft characterization prevents Ginny from becoming a caricature; instead, he presents the story of a very real sixteen-year-old girl with resentments, fears, and doubts. Ultimately, The Broken Bridge serves as a metaphor for the irreconcilability between an imagined Blackness that is authentic, unitary, and atemporal, and Ginny’s lived reality of a fragmented Blackness that has been irrevocably created by and reified through personal and collective cultural trauma and loss.


African American Studies | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Literature in English, British Isles | Reading and Language


This article is the publisher's (Morgan State University) version, previously appearing in Sankofa: A Journal of African Children's and Young Adult Literature, Vol. 7, 2008, p. 50-57.

Copyright 2008 Ebony Elizabeth Thomas.