Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The White Mary, by Kira Salak

The White Mary was released last year by Henry Holt & Company. The edition I reviewed is by Picador with a 2009 release that I have reviewed for Library Thing. The reviews on the LT site are varied to say the least. I personally LOVED IT!!! Kira Salak has written many non-fiction books based on her own personal travel experiences and it shows in her first novel The White Mary. You are definitely on this trip with her.

Marika Vecera is a determined, dedicated journalist who chooses to live life with little baggage. She lives in a sparsely decorated apartment with minimal material comforts. Cherished tokens from her travels serve as windows to her past. She has no permanent male companion and likes it that way. No attachment. She can pick up and leave to follow a story at any moment.

She wanted to write, she freelanced and sold her stories, always risking personal injury and life threatening odds. It wasn’t easy in the beginning as she paid her own way to get to perilous places in order to report a story. Her hero is the famous journalist, Robert Lewis and has read everything he ever wrote. When she reads of his suicide she is devastated. Soon after, she decides to write a biography about his life.

Contrary to her single lifestyle, Marika becomes involved with Sam Gilman, an “intense” doctoral student. Unaccustomed to deep relationships Marika is frightened as Sam tries to break through her desensitized cocoon. After a horrible fight, Marika leaves Seb.

She learns that a missionary is quite sure he spotted Lewis living in a remote jungle village in Papa New Guinea. With rash determination she decides to follow the lead. Treacherous travel through leech invested swamps and the constant attack of mosquitos leads Marika to a village where she is called white mary. Her visit turns unexpectedly reflective when the protective shield that binds her ability to feel begins to unravel.

Kira Salak’s personal experiences make this novel a realistically compelling read. A beautifully sensual book with poetic imagery that lifts off the page.

“Trees surround her like great columns in a cathedral. Birds announce the coming day with bold calls, and not even the faint drumbeats can overpower the incessant droning of insects.”

I consumed this book without stopping. Reflective and mesmerizing,The White Mary, will be one for my 2009 top ten picks.

Friday, October 16, 2009

After You've Gone-by Jeffrey Lent

After You’ve Gone
Jeffrey Lent, Atlantic Monthly Press, March 10, 2009, $24.00, HC, 272 pp. 978-0-87113-894-1.

After You’ve Gone takes place at the beginning of the twentieth century and spans a number of years in the life of Henry Dorn. It takes place where he grew up in Nova Scotia, and follows his travels to New York and Amsterdam. Henry Dorn’s life is radically changed one day when his wife Olivia, and son Robert are tragically killed in an automobile accident. Olivia is the love of Henry’s life and with death he carries unbearable grief. Robert and he have had a strained relationship, unable to communicate, neither able to understand the other. Robert has returned from war addicted to morphine, full of self pity and no motivation. Henry’s last conversation with his son was a disaster. When he realizes his two daughters are too busy to include him in their lives, he withdraws making plans to travel. He chooses Amsterdam where he decides he will research his heritage.

While there he meets Lydia Pierce, independent and confident, happy to be single and free to come and go as she pleases. It is a new age, where women are venturing out on their own. The plot is somewhat predictable as Henry falls in love with Lydia. However, this is not the full story, nor is it the end.

Jeffrey Lent again demonstrates his storytelling finesse. The language is breathtakingly rich, the characters are crafted with finite detail and the ending is anyone’s guess. Although somewhat slow reading at the beginning, the story soon picks up momentum. Reading anything by Jeffrey Lent is a sensual gift to savor. After You’ve Gone is no exception, a love story that will leave a lingering imprint.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday Thoughts....

Something to Think About Thursday

Hi friends, I feel like I have been way out of touch. I hope to get back to blogging more regularly real soon. Honestly, I have just stepped in hornets nest of issues that have sidelined me from posting my daily blog. Without getting into details, I can say for certain, I had my hands full. I didn't have the mental or physical capability to do what I love best, and that is read and write.

That said, My question to you is this,

What would you do if you were suddenly unable to read? This includes books on tape. What would you do if you fell asleep every time someone read to you. What would you do if you fell asleep every time you began to read a book?

What would you do? How would you handle this? I am curious!! Please leave me a comment and share your thoughts. I would love to know.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Connecticut Clouds.....

I took this yesterday on my way home. There was such a sense of foreboding and eerie quiet as if Hitchcock himself had created the setting. It was a curious spectacle. There was no rain. There was no sun. Just dark heavy ominous billowing clouds like you'd see from the back of an old steam engine.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Congratulations to President Obama!!!

The Nobel Committee made a daringly bold decision in bestowing this honor to our president. They have offered their opinion in this video which I am sure will be actively debated in the media.

I have sent a message of congratulations to President Obama with my support. I believe his efforts to bring together the global community through unilateral thinking and actions have been extraordinary. His vision for a better world are genuine and promising.