Saturday, January 28, 2012

Audrey Schulman-A Blast from the Past

Many years ago when I worked on our county's bookmobile I was fortunate enough to have a mentor who was always pushing me to broaden my reading horizons. It was a glorious couple of years as I was studying for my masters degree while working with someone whose whole raison d'etre seemed to be to build up my self esteem and convince me that I could do anything that I chose to do. (he was right!)

Mr. Smith would never miss an opportunity to hand me a book about strong women, fiction, non-fiction, biographies. One of the memorable books he asked me to read was The Cage by Audrey Schulman. Billed as a "feminist adventure story," this literary thriller was about a nature photographer and a crew who ventured into the arctic to study polar bears.

Imagine my surprise when I opened my package from Library Journal last month and saw that I'd been sent a new novel, her first in over ten years, by Ms. Schulman. I couldn't wait to jump right into Three Weeks in December which should be released any day now. My review was published in the January issue of Library Journal but, to my dismay, I can no longer link to reviews as it seems they are adding a layer of security to their website while they roll out a new and complicated "look."

So, rather than reinvient my own wheel, I'll tell you that I absolutely loved this novel. Here is a copy of my review:

The abundance of Africa has made the continent ripe for exploitation, but among those who arrive there with less than honorable intent, some will become so enthralled with the land and its inhabitants that they cannot, will not, leave. In 1899 Jeremy, an engineer from a line of Maine homesteaders, hired on with the British to supervise the construction of a railroad that would carve its way through East Africa, paving the way for English settlers while carelessly displacing the indigenous people. One hundred years later Max, an ethnobotanist chosen by a “big pharma” corporation, travels to a gorilla research facility in Rwanda to test and return with a rare vine that could become a medical miracle. In alternating chapters, Ms. Schulman weaves two mesmerizing tales based upon historical fact, enlivened by fully formed, sympathetic characters. Jeremy feels compelled to prove his manhood when his encampment of Indian workers is threatened by a pair of aggressive lions, while Max immerses herself in the silent world of the endangered gorilla families. Verdict: Ms. Schulman (The Cage, A House Named Brazil) treats readers to a visceral cornucopia of senses, taking readers from the plains of Kenya to the mountains of Rwanda. Teaching without preaching, the author speaks to the dichotomy between the preservationists and the destroyers of Africa’s resources. She’s also written an ode to the wonder of silence.
Coming soon from Europa Editions. Look for it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Such a great compliment to Pete. I hope you shared that with him.

Dorothy ( my identity seems elusive to Google).