Dear Great Book Guru, Next week I’m planning on an early Valentine’s celebration: Sea Cliff Civic Association’s annual Storytelling Event at the Sea Cliff Yacht Club on Saturday, February 8 at 7:30pm. It will be an evening of five impassioned love stories. There will be time -as usual- for a good book. Any suggestions? Love Story Searcher
Dear Love Story Searcher, The book I’m recommending does not qualify as a love story but it is one immersed in passion: DISAPPEARING EARTH by Julia Phillips. Set in the remote Russian city of Petropavlovsk on the Kamchatka coast, the novel opens with the kidnapping of two young sisters. The remainder of the book is broken into monthly chapters describing the impact of this kidnapping on twelve residents – all women and girls. The only witness to the abduction is Oksana whose credibility is ignored because the residents insist the kidnapper must be an outsider, a foreigner - certainly not the white man she saw. Quickly we realize that the issues that confront this city are universal concerns. Racism, immigration, nostalgia for a “glorious” past, patriarchal oppression, and violence against women are all revealed as the story unfolds. What is touted as protecting quickly is revealed to be another avenue to subjugate women. Throughout, clues to the kidnapper’s identity are overlooked by a biased police, media, and citizenry. Both a mystery and political thriller…. highly recommended!