A compelling story about the wrenching pain of divorce and the redemptive power of family ties.

THE MANY LOVES OF MILA

Swinton’s first novel tracks the life of Mila Simon from her first affair onward.

As a Russian, Mila believes she has a feel for the tragic, and she keenly hears the call of the void even from within her relatively happy marriage. She makes the decision to cheat with a physically unremarkable playwright and director, getting away with it for months while her investment banker husband’s long hours make it easier to hide suspicion. Though she loves her husband dearly, he wonders, due to their lackluster sex life, if she’s a lesbian. Her partner in infidelity has no such questions or qualms, bringing out a side of her that has long lain dormant. When her betrayal is exposed, her husband’s black-and-white thinking comes to the fore, and he exiles her. Mila moves back in with her Russian Jewish parents, immigrants from Latvia, and begins a strange double life of being a broken daughter by day and a compulsive dater by night. Throughout her breakdown, Mila sees men she doesn’t care for, men who don’t care for her and a succession of therapists to help with her mental state. Swinton’s descriptions of the thought processes of a disordered mind are spot-on, particularly when Mila spirals into depression over the end of yet another mediocre relationship. “But I had no strength to say anything to Ezra,” Mila thinks of a man who didn’t suit her but whose departure crushed her. “Sadness was suffocating me. I was in Manhattan, but it may as well have been the Siberian gulag: My mind made it so. Inside the prison of my mind was a place of great suffering and hardship.” With compassion, Swinton writes of the woman’s descent into the blackness of despair and her continuous rises and falls brought on by a string of post-divorce relationships. With the help of her mother and father, Mila keeps herself together enough to encounter a true blessing in the book’s last chapters. Swinton has an ear for dialogue and a deep understanding of mental imbalance as well as the importance of family and the quirks of Russian Jewish immigrants in New York. A riveting read, this novel will ensnare readers in the first chapter and not let up.

A compelling story about the wrenching pain of divorce and the redemptive power of family ties.

Pub Date: Dec. 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989993029

Page Count: 282

Publisher: Matchgirl Press

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

SHOW TRIALS

HOW PROPERTY GETS MORE LEGAL PROTECTION THAN PEOPLE IN OUR FAILED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.

In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more