Response to the Butterfingers novels by Zbigniew Friedrich, film maker
It’s not often we, the 70+, find ourselves in a situation which prompts us to pick up a book earmarked for the 10+ readers, and when we do succumb to persuasion, we often find ourselves reading, with exaggerated theatrical inflections, some fairy story about exotic animals to our as yet “illiterate” grandchildren. So, stumbling upon the Butterfingers Trilogy, aimed at 10+ readers, was a chance in a million and an absolute revelation.
If the lovingly drawn teenage protagonists full of anarchic witchery are the obvious core of the narratives, the racy, well informed commentaries of the games they play at school are the driving force.
The commentaries convey not only the protagonists’ passion for the games but leave the most critical of aficionados breathless, while readers vaguely familiar with the intricate rules and moves inherent to cricket or soccer will, with some external help, transmogrify into devotees. The mysterious twists and turns in the narratives would, I am sure, delight Agatha Christie. The adult role models, Colonel Uncle, Mr Vijay and Mr Dinesh are rendered without sentimental bias while the satirical descriptions of some of the teachers, so innocently, yet brutally honest as only children are prone to be, might prompt some teachers to avoid mirrors. Khyrunnisa A is an imaginative educator, the vocabulary and literary references are challenging, the ease of expression manifests universality. I hope there will come a day when Aussie kids will have the opportunity to read about the adventures of Amar, Kiran, Kishore, Reshmi, Arjun and friends.
Zbigniew (Peter) Friedrich is a Cinematographer and has edited and shot countless documentaries and dramas such as Music of the Brain, Nurses and so on.