Occasionally drab due to its subject matter, but an insightful, impressively broad glimpse of a formidable mission.

We'll Live Tomorrow

From debut author Everett comes a novel about contemporary chaotic life in Afghanistan.

“Aid work was my life,” Hunter Ames says. The divorced, middle-aged, former Peace Corps volunteer tries to do his small part to help rebuild war-torn Afghanistan, working for USAID, an American enterprise engaged in various projects to help the people of Afghanistan (and elsewhere) while building a positive relationship with its people. It’s a job full of difficult personalities, corruption, and tremendous amounts of American money. “What Is Not Spent Cannot Be Billed,” Hunter’s boss stressed—“He referred to it as something so absolute and unquestioned that it might have been chiseled into stone tablets”—meaning in effect that large amounts of taxpayer dollars had to be spent regardless of the usefulness in doing so. Because insurgent attacks and irate Afghanis were always a possibility, the job was dangerous and frustrating. Amid this quagmire is green-eyed Karimullah, a young Afghani man who escaped a life of forced prostitution in “the hidden world of bacha bazi.” Karimullah works for Americans such as Hunter, though doing so puts Karimullah’s life in danger. How will these two ever survive a place as unstable and disjointed as Afghanistan? Everett offers an authentic look at the strange world of foreign aid work, with subject matter ranging from office politics to suicide bombers to the human need to be part of a group: “We’re tribal creatures,” says an acquaintance of Hunter’s. The story goes deeper, exploring the former lives of Hunter and Karimullah in places that have little to do with the United States government. For instance, thinking about his son, Hunter reflects: “What do we ever really know about our parents?” Details of bureaucratic life can prove dull, however, particularly with the attendant emails and meetings: “I had a meeting planned that afternoon with the contractor who would be filling an order for farm machinery,” Hunter says. Yet, on the whole, the narrative composes a realistic and touching image of the men and women involved in this complex relationship and the infinite trials of an operation as arcane and immense as rebuilding a nation.

Occasionally drab due to its subject matter, but an insightful, impressively broad glimpse of a formidable mission.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9962871-0-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Galatea Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 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?

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

Did you like this book?

more