Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Burning the Sea-Sarah Pemberton Strong

 Burning the Sea-Sarah Pemberton Strong

the facts
satisfaction: up
pages: 355
gender: F
nationality: USA
year: 2002
novel

"In an airport in the Dominican Republic, two searchers are drawn together by a suggestive smile and a shared sense of longing. Michelle is a young American with holes in her past and a need to wander so strong that she walks in her sleep. Tollomi is a native of the West Indies, thoroughly Americanized by education and in search of his truer self. Haunted by elusive secrets of the past, they forge an intense connection that allows them to comprehend each other's secrets while remaining blind to their own. For Tollomi, the route to salvation lies in his deep involvement in Dominican politics; for Michelle, it is the rebuilding of a family home, long abandoned, which she hopes will hold the key to her lost memories."

I know, right, two 'lost travelers' in the Domincan Republic. We all know what's going to happen...except we don't. This was quite an original book. Few of the things you really expect to happen happens in the way you expect. The travelers are genuinely lost-either by trauma or by the straddling of two worlds. They are expecting to do things and end up doing other things-exactly like true traveling ends up being. Yet they are lost, constantly running without articulating why. They are tied together because they are both living in bodies that they do not feel connected to.

And the Dominicans aren't stereotypes either-they end up being fully fleshed characters in their own right spanning the spectrum of people. There are various narratives of destruction, colonialism, and revolution woven throughout masterfully that give the book a true political bite that makes it a strong, hefty read.


If this is a really vague review, I apologize. It's hard to write about this book without ruining any of the plot which I sincerely wish to avoid. It is a good book that resonates without my being able to directly say why.

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