"What is it like to lose everything?" asked the man, the stranger who was there to help.
And Younis fixed him with his pale gren eyes and said, "What is it like not to?"
Looking for something to do this weekend? I highly recommend this beautiful page turner.
When we meet the protagonist, Jonas, he is a 15-year-old orphan of war from an unnamed Muslim country. He has been relocated to America through the humanitarian efforts of a relief organization. Adjusting to the new way of life is difficult enough but Jonas is additionally suffering the loss of everything he has ever known...his family, his friends and his home. The biggest obstacle standing in the way of Jonas' happiness and recovery are the memories of the life he left behind. Unwilling to remember his difficult past he lies, denies and spirals into a addiction and depression.
Jonas is introduced to Rose, grieving mother of missing US soldier Christopher Henderson. Christopher was last seen in the small village that was formerly Jonas' home. Rose is hopeful that Jonas holds the answer to the disappearance of her son. Dau is masterful in illustrating for the reader exactly how different the path of suffering can be through his sad and moving portrayal of these two victims.
Stephen Dau's debut novel is a can't-put-down story told in a sparse but incredibly moving and insightful way. The story moves along quickly by flipping between characters and locations. Dau's insight into the devastating effects of war from the perspective of both the victims and the aggressor is startling.
Sadly, this book reads quickly and in no time it's back on the shelf but the book will stay with you long after you've finished it.
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Disclaimer - I was compensated for my review by BlogHer, but the opinions expressed in this review are my own.