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.


Booklogged said...

One of your top 10 - with that high praise I'm adding this to THE LIST.

Marie Cloutier said...

I'm so glad you liked it. I thought it was a showstopper! :-)

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Wow, this one sounds fascinating, and to place it in your top 10 is impressive.. I can't decide if I want to read it or not!

The Bookworm said...

Wow, if its in your top 10 for the year, it must be great.