Provocative, disturbing group of novellas that humanize international problems of violence and the plight of refugees.

A BETTER WORLD

A collection of three disquieting novellas featuring young women seeking better lives, from prolific Venezuelan-Danish author Tarazona (Daggryets Barn, 2014).

In the first novella, 29-year-old Saja, a well-educated, formerly well-off Sri Lankan, finally accepts that her political prisoner husband is dead. She seeks asylum in Denmark, but her life at the refugee camp there is troublesome. Forced to deal with racism, jealousy and would-be rapists, Saja finally receives word her application has been approved by the Danish Immigration Service. Building a new life for herself, she becomes involved with Peter, an immigration employee who is fired due to their relationship—a minor hurdle as they work toward a future together. In the second story, young Yonna’s entire Wayuu family is massacred by a rival clan. After her captor rapists tire of her, she finds a degree of safety weaving for a tradeswoman in Maracaibo. She is rescued by Dorothea “Thea” Weiss, a German expatriate. They form a close bond, and newly confident Yonna meets Daniel, a Danish engineer working in Venezuela. The two embark on a romantic adventure, uncertain what the future will bring. In the third story, Taraji, the least sympathetic of the young women affected by violence, was adopted from South Africa by a Danish couple, Jacob and Liva. When teenage Taraji begins asking questions about her birth parents, she misinterprets Liva’s reticence as insecurity rather than protective instinct; Liva doesn’t wish Taraji to know that her conception resulted from a violent rape. Despite her loving parents and stable boyfriend, Taraji embarks on self-destructive behavior. While the stories have an optimistic tone, the voyages in all three are painful ones. Saja and Yonna both exhibit great strength of character and highly developed principles; Taraji shows willfulness and selfishness. Saja’s story is perhaps the most affecting as the reader witnesses the disbelief of Danish authorities that she could be an educated, intelligent young woman; they see only a destitute woman who must be lying about her past. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the stories is that all three are set in the recent past—1990s through the present—a time that, we’d like to think, should be more enlightened.

Provocative, disturbing group of novellas that humanize international problems of violence and the plight of refugees.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-8799737949

Page Count: 324

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

Did you like this book?

TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more