Monthly Archives: July 2012

Dovekeepers/Alice Hoffman

DOVEKEEPERS by Alice Hoffman, Scribner, 2011, 504 pgs, $27.99 #ISBN#978-1-45161747-4

I love the way Alice Hoffman writes. Turtle Moon was one of the first self-selected books by a contemporary woman author that I enjoyed. What has drawn me to her, besides giving me a sense that she was in tune with feminine intuition, is the ability to weave a story that is intimately suggestive of various elements of the supernatural, which had made the books I have read by her more than just an average fiction book. There was always a little added bonus for the potential of fantasy.

Dovekeepers, a definitely a good read, is not just for the female gender point of view reader and is not borderline fantasy.  It is clear Ms. Hoffman did extensive research for this novel and it should be read by a wide audience. Although it produced a restless night sleep, figuring out how to process some of the violent details exceedingly intense at the book’s culmination; those details fit appropriately and accurately to the theme of the story.  Contemporary writers may feel compelled to capture their audience’s attention through “shocking” content these days, but that is hasn’t been Hoffman’s style in previous books I have read by her.  Rather miraculous however, which is Hoffman’s style; was the lasting impression of endowing one of her main characters with a sharp attribute, allowing for a witty twist and a justifiable explanation of what truly could have been.

Dovekeepers is the signature story by a writer who has succeeded in portraying compelling characters who have made an historic event come vividly back to life for us.

Beverly Pietlicki@ June 28, 2012

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Walk Across the Sun/Corban Addison

A WALK ACROSS THE SUN By Corban Addison SilverOak, 2012 371 pages, $24.95 ISBN# 978-1-4027-9280-9

Corban Addison’s debut novel, A Walk Across the Sun, a fast paced action thriller about the human trafficking of two young innocent and intelligent girls, is well written, keeps your spine straight and your heart at attention. What makes it different than “Taken,” the breath-taking 2008 film with a similarly structured kidnapping plot of a man’s daughter brought to the edge of the sex trafficking trade in the heart of Paris? Addison has a law degree and has been writing since he was fifteen; he is presumptive and adept at portraying a likely reality.

The main character Thomas Clarke has all the makings of young, charismatic attorney, paralleling those to Mitch McDeere of John Grisham’s The Firm, but he also faces complex personal challenges. He aspires to follow in his father’s footsteps to become a chief district judge but from the start doesn’t appear to possess judgeship promise. He’s been demoted by his firm’s managing partner and placed in a compromising situation that combats his moral fiber. In addition, having lost his first and only child to SIDS, his marriage to a college educated woman from a socio-economically affluent Indian family is also struggling to survive under their cultural differences.

What makes A Walk Across the Sun not only a good read, but also a frame for exposure to the contemporary human trafficking crisis, is that Thomas excels to achieve a personal resolution and in doing so enlists himself to the aid of others. Intermittently inspired by the poetry of Sarojini Naidu, the Indian poetess who fought for the liberation of suppressed women in the early 1900’s and companion to the causes of Mahatma Gandhi, he explores the idea of reuniting with his wife. Although she leaves him pondering core values essential to his success, he realizes his potential for leveraging legal expertise and ventures to undergo both stressful and time sensitive junctures including traveling to Bombay to work for a pro bono cause.

Compelling circumstances in India lead him to investigate the missing sister of two girls who became instant orphans when a Tsunami killing thousands of people hits the Coromandel Coast. Thomas’s integrity is fully realized when he naively follows expertly trained CASE (Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation) workers into the heart of Kamathipura where selling and bargaining young girls for sex and cheap labor is as commonplace for some as gambling on spectator sports. In addition, witnessing child abduction just miles from his home in Virginia places the subject of human trafficking in a duel and subsequent global setting.

Through logical connections with federal agencies, Thomas is afforded choices that could save the lives of others and accomplish what perhaps is only accomplishable in a work of fiction. The outcome however, is a high call to action for readers to examine their own inner values and how those decisions can shape and influence our own humanity and how we treat others. A Walk Across the Sun exemplifies the core struggle of man against man, and ultimately the hope of one man to win and overcome, in at least this one instance, the most horrific crime of our day.

@-Beverly Pietlicki, 2012

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