Dinner At The Center of The Earth – by Nathan Englander

“Dinner At The Center of The Earth” is an Israeli spy novel about the ever changing world of politics, loyalty and love. The story shifts back and forth through time and takes place in Israel, Paris, Berlin and indirectly in America from 2002-2014.

The novel begins with an introduction to Prisoner Z and his guard. Prisoner Z, an American Israeli spy, is in a prison in the middle of the Negev desert. His guard is a spoiled mama’s boy, whose mother is the close assistant to “the General” and former Israeli Prime Minister (fashioned after Ariel Sharon). Prisoner Z has been secretly imprisoned by the General and no one knows he even exists except the guard, his mother, and the General. The novel tells the tragic story of Prisoner Z and how he ended up a prisoner, as well as the story of the General, the history of his renowned military actions and his change of heart as he neared death.

Prisoner Z starts out as a dedicated Israeli spy, but certain chance (or maybe not so chance) meetings and relationships cause him to rethink his loyalties. After engaging in traitorous activities, he is transferred to Paris and becomes romantically involved with a waitress there, who of course is in fact an Israeli spy. Ultimately his penchant to easily fall in love caught him out into his hopeless imprisonment. Throughout his imprisonment, Prisoner Z writes letters to the General (the letters remain unanswered). In the meantime, the General has a stroke which leaves him in what appears to be a permanently in between space, where he reflects on his life, both personal and nationalistic.

The waitress/spy disappears for a while, but reappears later in the novel after having fallen hopelessly in love with a Palestinian. This relationship, seemingly doomed yet fascinatingly strong and hopeful, is a metaphor for the rest of the book. At the end, the general dies, Prisoner Z is forgotten and the waitress and her lover find a way to stay together at the Center of the Earth. The book is both hopeful and hopeless, but the ending left me feeling empty and unsatisfied. I think that might have been the point. This is a brilliant novel but it will not appeal to everyone. You can reserve it from the Cuyahoga County Public Library by clicking here.

Chemistry – by Weike Wang

“Chemistry, while powerful, is sometimes unpredictable.”

Chemistry tells the story of the complexity of love, life, family, friendship, immigration and science, all in 211 very short pages. The narrator, whose name is never revealed, is a PhD candidate in chemistry, living in Boston with Eric, also a PhD candidate in chemistry. When we meet them they have been living together for two years, with a dog, and he wants to marry. She is not so sure.

The narrator is Chinese American and her parents are both from China. Her father moved the family to America when she was five years old so that he could obtain a PhD and become an engineer. Her mother, a very beautiful woman, had been a pharmacist in China and has a hard time adjusting to life in America. The parents, who fight constantly, are very aggressive about the narrator completing her PhD.

Narrator is not making progress and appears to have a complete breakdown, when she breaks five beakers in the chemistry lab.  She ultimately never returns. Eric, the boyfriend, has completed his degree and takes a teaching job in Oberlin. The narrator stays put in Boston with the dog. She sees a therapist and through the interactions with the therapist we learn the complexity of her upbringing and her thought process. She begins tutoring students in math and science with some success.

Narrator has a best friend who is a doctor living in Manhattan. She sees and speaks to the best friend on a regular basis. The best friend has a baby, separates from her husband and narrator and the best friend posit frequently about the complexities of life and love. Ultimately, both narrator and best friend seem to come to terms with life. “I have brief windows of clarity when I see that happiness is not just achievement but made up of many other things.”

The book is short, choppy and introspective. The introspection saves the book, which is not exactly a story but more of a missive, yet the book succeeds in subtly building to a sense of emotional growth. It was not the best of 2017, but possibly worth a read if you have an extra couple of hours on your hands. You can reserve this book at the Cuyahoga County Public Library in electronic form by clicking here.

The Power – by Naomi Alderman

“The Power” might be described as dystopian by some and might be (and in fact has been) described as a fantasy or a dream by others. I think most readers would agree that it is a wild ride.

In The Power, women suddenly discover that they have electrical current running through their bodies that they can use for endless purposes. Most of the women who discover that they have the power are actually girls. These girls are able to pass the power on to their mothers. As time goes by, the power is used, of course, to take over the world from men.

The story focuses on 4 individuals, with asides focused on others. Roxy learns that she has the power when she is 14 years old and inadvertently uses it to some effect during a home invasion. Roxy, the daughter of a known gangster, learns to maximize the power with age and becomes a formidable soldier in the effort to take control from men. She has three half-brothers, all of whom continue their father’s business, one of whom is especially envious of Roxy’s power.

Allie is an abused foster child who has been playing with her power and at the age of 16 uses it to punish her abusive foster father. As a result, Allie has to escape and takes refuge in a convent, where more “orphaned” girls with the power also take refuge. Allie, who hears voices that guide her, uses the power to cure infirmities, renames herself Eve and ultimately becomes known as Mother Eve. Allie meets Roxy at the convent and they create a powerful friendship.

Tunde, a man from Lagos, discovers women with the power when he is 21, during a mildly disastrous romantic endeavor. He decides to film women with the power as he sees it and ultimately travels the world reporting on the impact of the power. His reporting takes him to Riyadh where women who have never been able to drive are rioting and destroying cars with their power. “He knows then that this thing is going to take the world and everything will be different…”

Margot, is a local mayor whose daughter, Jocelyn has intermittent power. Despite Jocelyn’s issues with the power, she is able to transfer it to Margot who goes on to become a governor, a senator and possibly more.

The story is told as a historical record during a time when women have ruled the world for centuries and men and their rights are restricted. The book has lots of violence, sex, drugs and rock and roll and ultimately of course, power corrupts regardless of gender. There are good and bad! The author of the history is a man and he is corresponding with an author and friend named Naomi for advice and constructive criticism. In her last letter, she suggests to him that “I know this might be very distasteful to you, but have you considered publishing this book under a woman’s name”? I loved this book and you will too! It is a lot of fun.

You can reserve a copy at the Cuyahoga County Public Library by clicking here.

The Leavers – by Lisa Ko

“The Leavers” is a novel about racial identity, immigration and lost souls, with a touch of musical spirit.

Peilan (Polly) Guo grew up in a poor village (Minjiang) in a poor province in China. Her father was a fisherman and her mother had died when she was six months old. At a young age, Polly left the village and went to the city of Fuzhou to work in a garment factory. In Fuzhou, Polly worked hard, sent money home, made friends and had a romance. After becoming pregnant, Polly returned to the village and from there emigrated to America.

While in America, she gives birth to a son, Deming, and sends him back to China to be raised by her father. Deming returns to America to be with Polly when he is six years old.

Polly becomes involved with a man from China, Leon, and Deming and Polly move into an apartment with Leon, Leon’s sister, Vivian, and Vivian’s son, Michael. Michael and Deming grow close and treat each other like brothers.

Polly disappears when Deming is eleven years old. Nobody seems to know where she has gone and, at the age of 11, Deming is adopted by two white college professors. They change his name to Daniel Wilkinson and thus begins Deming/Daniel’s perpetual identity crisis. He is introduced to another family who has adopted a Chinese girl, Angel and Deming/Daniel and Angel become friends with a complex relationship.

He loses touch with Vivian, Michael and Leon and struggles through his new life, disappointing everyone along the way. His best friend, Roland Fuentes, starts up a successful band, Psychic Hearts, and Daniel/Deming drops out of college to join in. In the meantime, college professor parents, Kay and Peter are pressing him to continue his college education.

After many years go by, Daniel/Deming receives a text from long lost Michael which results in him reconnecting with his birth mother and learning that she had been deported and begun a new life in China. He visits her in Fuzhou, China and continues to struggle with who he is and how to avoid disappointing everyone in his life.

The one constant for Deming/Daniel is music. All sounds are color to him and that concept and those descriptions are probably the best parts of the book. He describes the sounds of Fuzhou as “deep yellow, blues, and oranges…Pastel sounds drifted from the windows of other apartments.”

The story ends with Deming/Daniel and Polly continuing to move around and everyone continuing to disappoint each other, although Deming/Daniel does reconnect in a meaningful way with Michael. The book is broken down into 4 parts and twenty chapters, with some chapters focused on Polly’s story (told in the first person) and the rest of the chapters telling Daniel’s story. The book had some potential but each theme is handled in a frustratingly superficial way, and the identity issues seemed almost like a toss in. You can reserve this book at the Cuyahoga County Public Library by clicking here.

The Time of Our Singing – by Richard Powers

“Every moving thing has its own clock.”

The Time of Our Singing is an extraordinary novel that follows the past and present of the Strom family. The story is told by Joseph Strom, one of the sons of David and Delia. David Strom and Delia Daley are from two very different worlds. Delia is black, the daughter of a successful physician father and a musical mother. She is an extremely talented singer who, at the time she meets David, dreams of a professional music career. The novel tells the story of Delia’s family, going back to slavery.

David is a German, Jewish refugee who left Germany in the 30s and spends his life seeking information of the fate of his family. He is a physics professor at Columbia University, focused on the secrets of time. “Our father knew more than any living person about the secret of time, except how to live in it.”

Delia and David meet on Easter, 1939, at the mall in Washington D.C., where Marian Anderson, a black singer, is performing for the public. It is a period in history where blacks and whites did not intermingle let alone engage in a romantic relationship. After the concert, as Delia is trying to walk away from David, they encounter a lost boy and they help him find his family. This experience brings them together.

Delia and David marry and Delia’s family grudgingly accept their new in-law. They have two sons close together, Jonah and Joseph. The two are a year apart in age and Delia refers to them jointly as Jojo. Sister Ruth comes along three years after Joseph.

The children have extraordinary musical talent. Jonah, in particular, has a rare and extraordinary voice. “That voice was so pure, it could make heads of state repent…And if any voice could have sent a message back to warn the past and correct the unmade future, it would have been my brother’s.” Joseph serves as Jonah’s accompaniest throughout much of Jonah’s musical career.

Jonah and Joseph attend a boarding school for music and subsequently go on to Juilliard. Their musical careers take off and after Jonah wins the America’s Next Voice competition, they begin traveling around the country giving concerts. Ultimately Jonah goes on and travels successfully through Europe.

While Jonah and Joseph are touring, the Civil Rights movement is in full swing. The story moves back and forth between their travels and concerts and the violence occurring throughout the country. “In February of 1965, three black men gunned down Malcolm X…We performed the night of his murder in Rochester, New York. While thousands marched from Selma to Montgomery, we were driving from East Lansing to Dayton. The night Rochester exploded, we sang in St. Louis. When Jacksonville burned, we played Baltimore.”

Delia and David decide that their children are beyond race and they make a conscious decision not to address racial identity. This, and David’s work on America’s nuclear weapons, causes a schism with Delia’s family that never heals. As sister Ruth grows up, she becomes active in the civil rights movement and rejects her family outright. As Jonah and Joseph grow older, each struggles with his racial identity in his own way. The book addresses racial struggles throughout the civil rights movement, the challenges David and Delia experience in their marriage, the struggles Delia’s family feel in accepting the marriage, David’s lifetime pursuit of his missing family members and obsession with time and Joseph, Ruth and Jonah’s internal and differing conflicts about their own identities. “The bird and the fish can fall in love. But where they gonna build their nest?”

Throughout the book there is love, hate and everything in between, but always there is music, physics and time. Every thought, every motion and every event has a rhythm. The book is a brilliant beating circle of time, beginning and ending at the same point. The story is gripping, the racial, musical, historical and scientific themes are compelling and the writing is beautiful. I lost myself in this book and have had trouble surfacing. But be warned: this book is a commitment. It is long (640 pages), dense and all consuming.

Manhattan Beach – by Jennifer Egan

Manhattan Beach has all the components of my favorite novels–great story, including gangsters, strong women and lots of surprises, taking place in a historical setting and just beautifully written.

The book opens with Eddie Kerrigan and his 11 year old daughter, Anna, visiting the Manhattan Beach home of Dexter Styles. Anna describes her father’s job as “pass[ing] greetings, or good wishes, between union men and other men who were their friends. These salutations included an envelope, sometimes a package, that he would deliver or receive casually–you wouldn’t notice unless you were paying attention.” Mr. Styles, who encourages his business associates to include family members at his home meetings, engages in a vaguer type of business, including running numerous nightclubs. It’s 1934.

Eddie answers to John Dunellen, who conducts his informal business at Sonny’s West Shore Bar and Grill. When meeting with Dunellen, Eddie observes that “he was surrounded, as always, by a gaggle of sycophants, suppliants, and minor racketeers, delivering a cut in exchange for his blessing.”

Eddie’s wife, Agnes, had been in the follies prior to marrying Eddie. Their daughter Lydia was born with some sort of condition which prevents her from walking, talking or sitting up. Lydia is beautiful and much loved by her mother and Anna, but Eddie struggles with having a child with a severe impairment. Eddie’s somewhat promiscuous sister, Brianne, comes in and out of the story.

Dexter Styles is a creation– his name, his persona and his life. His wife, Harriet, comes from a well to do family. Her father, Arthur Berringer, had been a rear admiral in the navy and gone into banking. Berringer accepts Dexter into the family’s life despite his questionable vocation, advising him early on that Harriet must be “his one and only.” Dexter admires his father in law but clearly underestimates him. Through the Dexter family we learn that in certain worlds, everyone is somehow connected to everyone else.

Three years after the Manhattan Beach meeting with Dexter Styles, Eddie disappears, leaving Anna (then age 14) and Agnes to care for Lydia. Five years later, Anna goes to work in a naval yard plant, measuring. When Anna asks her boss what they are measuring, she is told “That information isn’t necessary to do your job…”. Ultimately, Anna decides she wants to become a diver, in pursuit of which she runs into numerous obstacles due to her gender. But ultimately Anna does become a diver. These jobs set off a whole series of events which radically change Anna’s life.

Anna meets Nell, who leads a wild type of life and together they go to a nightclub, where an older and more mature Anna again meets Dexter Styles, who has no recollection of ever having met her. Somehow, he becomes involved in her life.

The novel is filled with twists and turns and all kinds of adventure. It is a joy to read. You can reserve this novel at the Cuyahoga County Public Library by clicking here or in electronic version by clicking here.

There Your Heart Lies – by Mary Gordon

In 1937, 19 year old Marian Taylor marries her gay brother’s Jewish lover, Russell Rabinowitz, and leaves the comfort of her wealthy New York Catholic family to take on the cause of the Communists against Franco in Spain. The youngest of nine, Marian and her brother Johnny have been the embarrassment of the wealthy Young family – Johnny because he is gay and Marian because she is independent and strong willed. After Johnny’s suicide, Marian can no longer countenance her family, and she and Russell, a physician, go off to Spain to provide medical assistance to the Republican forces.

After working in a hospital in Valencia, Russell quickly becomes disillusioned with the cause, concluding that violence and hatred have overtaken righteous ideology and leaves Spain, while Marian chooses to stay. She is transferred to another hospital where she meets a Spanish Doctor, Ramon Ortiz, and falls in love. They are married when Marian becomes pregnant, but Ramon dies of sepsis before the child is born. Marian goes to live with Ramon’s spiteful mother and abashed father, where she has the child, for whom she has no love. Her mother in law names him Ignacio and takes control of him (and of Marian as well). After seven years of living in dreadful circumstances with her in laws, she has an accident and breaks her leg. She meets a female doctor, Isabel, and her brother the priest Tomas. Her life suddenly changes and vastly improves. Isabel is strong willed and intelligent and Tomas is devoted and empathetic to a fault.

Marian meets an American 10 years her junior, Theo. They marry and move to Rhode Island, where we catch up again with Marian in 2009, when she is 92 years old. She is living with her beloved granddaughter, Amelia. Marian has lived a good life, running a nursery (garden) and fighting for causes that are important to her. As she is dying, she begins to recount her life to Amelia, who is astounded to learn these things about her grandmother. Amelia goes off to Spain to try to relive some of her grandmother’s history, with at best mixed results.

The novel is interesting in that it follows the Spanish civil war through the eyes of an American woman. Marian is interesting and a well-developed character. However, Mary Gordon’s writing and character portrayals feel flat to me and although the story is good, it felt like there was something missing. If you choose to read the book and figure out what is missing, will you let me know?

You can reserve the novel at the Cuyahoga County Public Library by clicking here. Or if you prefer it in electronic version, please click here. Please note that clicking on these links will open new browser windows for this novel at the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s website.

Behold the Dreamers – by Imbolo Mbue

“Behold the Dreamers” is a first novel about immigration and the American Dream. The novel tells the story of two families, the Jongas and the Edwards.

In 2004, Jende Jonga arrived in America under slightly false pretenses, obtaining a temporary visa with the understanding that he intended to return to his home country of Cameroon in three months. He had no such intentions, but desired to stay in America forever, escaping his impoverished life in Limbe Cameroon, and attaining the American dream. Jende’s girlfriend, Neni, and their six year old son, made their way to America two years later. Neni’s father would not allow them to marry because Jende was from a poor family. Within a week of Neni’s arrival in New York, Jende and Neni are married. When the reader meets Neni and Jende, the couple is living in an apartment in Harlem and struggling to make ends meet. Neni is working as a home health aid and going to school at night and Jende is working a variety of jobs, including as a livery driver.

Jende’s cousin, Winston, a successful Wall Street lawyer, arranges for Jende to interview to become a chauffeur to a wealthy investment banker at Lehman Brothers (remember them?). Jende succeeds in getting the job, earning a whopping $35,000 a year, and we meet the Edwards family. Clark and Cindy Edwards appear to be the perfect couple, wealthy, beautiful and living the American dream. They have two children, 10 year old Mighty and Columbia Law student, Vince. The couple has a spectacular Manhattan apartment and an even more spectacular summer home in the Hamptons.

Jende drives Mr. Edwards to and from work and appointments, including certain regular appointments of a tawdry nature at the Chelsea Hotel. All the while Lehman Brothers is imploding and Clark is doing all he can to hold it together. Cindy is living the life of the bored wealthy socialite, but all is not well. Vince wants to quit law school and move to India and Cindy has her own misgivings about the life she leads. Neni becomes well acquainted with Cindy when she goes to work for her during the summer in the Hamptons.  Their relationship is full of surprises.

In the meantime, Jende has hired an immigration lawyer to help him obtain citizenship, but the process is not going as he desires and haunts him every day. His family back in Cameroon is aging and has financial needs. Lehman Brothers implodes, the Edwards family is splitting apart and Jende loses his lucrative job. He and Neni, who has given birth to a second child, struggle through the days. “…bad news has a way of slithering into good days and making a mockery of complacent joys.”

After months of poverty, stress and disillusionment, Jende and Neni must decide whether to fight to stay in America or go back to Cameroon. The decision is gut wrenching. But in order for you to know how it all turns out, you need to read this subtly provocative first novel. You can reserve “Behold the Dreamers” at the Cuyahoga County Public Library by clicking on http://encore.cuyahoga.lib.oh.us/iii/encore/record/C__Rb11195333__Sbehold%20the%20dreamers__P0%2C2__Orightresult__X7?lang=eng&suite=gold. If you prefer an electronic version, click on http://encore.cuyahoga.lib.oh.us/iii/encore/record/C__Rb11221951__Sbehold%20the%20dreamers__P0%2C1__Orightresult__X7?lang=eng&suite=gold

The Ninth Hour – by Alice McDermott

The Ninth Hour is an utterly charming novel about faith, dissent, good works and love. The novel begins when Jim decides to take his own life by releasing gas into his lungs, leaving pregnant Annie on her own to make her way with her not yet born daughter. It is Annie’s good fortune (if there is such a thing as good fortune in these circumstances), that Sister St. Savior, on her way back to the convent after an “afternoon in the vestibule of the Woolworth’s at Borough Hall, her alms basket in her lap”, walked by the Brooklyn tenement “with the terrible scent of doused fire on the winter air.”

“It was Sister St. Savior’s vocation to enter the homes of strangers, mostly the sick and the elderly, to breeze into their apartments and to sail comfortably through their rooms…” With the help of Sister St. Savior and her convent, Annie is able to go on with her life.

Sister St. Savior arranges for Annie to work in the laundry at the Little Nursing Sisters convent for $18 a week, breakfast and lunch. She brings her daughter Sallie with her and Sallie grows up in the convent. Annie befriends young Sister Jeanne, to whom she remains close throughout her life, and develops relationships with Sister Illuminata (master of the laundry) and Sister Lucy (gruff do gooder). The nuns also introduce Annie to Elizabeth Tierney, mother to a gaggle of children, who becomes her closest friend. Through the convent Annie meets Mr. Costello, the milkman, whose invalid wife is in the constant care of the nuns.

Sallie, Annie’s daughter, at some point in young adulthood decides to work with the nuns in caring for the sick. She spends time with Sister Lucy going to various households and decides to become a nun. She is assigned to a nursing convent in Chicago. On the overnight train to Chicago, Sallie encounters a crass woman, a grifter and a child abusing poor mother and her abused child. The experience causes her to realize that she lacks the empathy to care for the less fortunate and upon arriving in Chicago she buys a one way train ticket and immediately returns home.

Sallie marries Patrick Tierney and the reader learns the story of Red Whelan, who served as Grandfather Tierney’s “substitute” in the war, and old aunt Rose, whose vocation it was to take care of Red and who is still living at the time of the tale.

The novel tells of each of the nun’s pasts and their struggles, the importance of love and family, and the begrudging mutual need of the wealthy and the poor. “Love’s a tonic, not a cure.”

The story is told by Annie’s grandchildren, piecing together their past. Sister Jeanne, who carries a secret, helps Sallie’s children put together their history and understand their parents. As he was dying, their father reminded them of his love for Sallie, their “mother, who thought to be a nun, but then thought better of it…A fatherless girl, a convent child in white wool. The girl he always knew he would marry.”

This is a wonderful novel, filled with real human characters, interesting storylines and great writing. Go and reserve it at the Cuyahoga County Public Library by clicking on http://encore.cuyahoga.lib.oh.us/iii/encore/record/C__Rb11263313__Sthe%20ninth%20hour__P0%2C4__Orightresult__X7?lang=eng&suite=gold or in electronic version by clicking on http://encore.cuyahoga.lib.oh.us/iii/encore/record/C__Rb11269850__Sthe%20ninth%20hour__Orightresult__X7?lang=eng&suite=gold

In The Midst of Winter – by Isabel Allende

“In the midst of winter, I finally found there was within me an invincible summer.” Albert Camus

“In the Midst of Winter” is an extraordinarily enjoyable novel, beautifully written, about three people brought together for a few days due to a snowstorm. Through a compelling mix of history, mystery, romance and humor, Allende emphasizes the resilience of the human spirit, as her characters transform from their histories of tragedy to their futures of love, hope and humanity.

Lucia is 62 years old, originally from Chile and teaching on a one year contract at New York University’s Center for Latin American Studies. She is living in the basement apartment of Richard Bowmaster’s Brooklyn brownstone. Richard is also a professor at New York University and arranged for Lucia to teach at NYU and to live in the apartment. Lucia is divorced, has a daughter, Daniela in Miami and is secretly in love with Richard Bowmaster.

Richard is Lucia’s boss at NYU. He leads a solitary existence and has rejected Lucia’s advances. When we meet him he is rushing one of his cats to the veterinarian during a blizzard. As he is returning home, he rear ends a Lexus, which is being driven by a Guatemalan refugee, Evelyn. Evelyn works as a nanny and helper for a wealthy family in Brooklyn. She is in the country illegally, driving the Lexus without the boss’s knowledge and is horrified when the accident occurs, refusing any help from Richard. Richard throws his business card in Evelyn’s car as she drives off.

Later in the evening of the accident Evelyn shows up at Richard’s door but is unable to communicate. Richard calls Lucia, saying “A hysterical Latin American woman has invaded my house and I don’t know what to do with her. Maybe you could help.” Thus begins three evenings that the three of them spend together through the snowstorm.

During these days and nights, Evelyn, Lucia and Richard tell each other their stories. Evelyn tells her story of growing up amidst violence and gangs in her home of Guatemala, culminating in her escape and her job working for the wealthy, mysterious and slightly sinister Leroy family.

Lucia tells her story of being raised by her single mother in Chile and seeking asylum in Venezuela when her life is endangered after being accused of being an opposition sympathizer by the government. She meets a man and moves to Canada but ultimately moves back to Chile. While in Chile she married, had a daughter, suffered breast cancer, divorced and had a lover.

Richard had studied political science, specializing in Brazil. He went to Brazil in 1985, fell in love, married and had a child. His entire personal life unraveled through drinking, drugs, womanizing and immense tragedy. He returned to New York to take a teaching position at New York University.

While the three are revealing themselves to each other they are also engaged in an adventure on the snowy roads of New York, trying to figure out what to do with the surprise they found in the trunk of the Lexus. This adventure is intermingled with their stories throughout the novel.

At times you have to suspend belief and reality to go along with the sort of unbelievable adventure Richard, Lucia and Evelyn are experiencing. That said, the stories are engaging and highly relevant in today’s environment, the characters are likeable and sympathetic and the hopefulness and generosity of spirit which the story exudes is a nice change of pace. This book will be released at the end of October and you should read it. You will be able to reserve the book at the Cuyahoga County Public Library by clicking on http://encore.cuyahoga.lib.oh.us/iii/encore/record/C__Rb11269085__Sin%20the%20midst%20of%20winter__P0%2C3__Orightresult__X7?lang=eng&suite=gold or if you prefer the electronic version, click on http://encore.cuyahoga.lib.oh.us/iii/encore/record/C__Rb11276967__Sin%20the%20midst%20of%20winter__P0%2C1__Orightresult__X7?lang=eng&suite=gold