Friday, April 17, 2009

I didn't realize I was in a rut...

In my day job I often talk people into trying something new. People with come into the store looking for their favourite wine, the same one they buy every-single-time they come in. I enjoy encouraging them to try a new varietal or a different country. It's always a good thing to broaden your horizons.

Applying that mindset to books up to this point, never dawned on me. Yea, I know "DUH!" I buy books like my customers buy wine. I go to the same area, look for the same style, same flavour, usually by the same authors. It was my girlfriend Rozsika, (I so love her name) who talked me into trying something new. Actually it was a phone call with her insisting that I HAD to read this book.

She was right. The book is THE DISAPPEARED by Kim Echlin

Okay so there are some spoilers in here but the story isn't written in complete cronicalogical order, you know what happens to them early in the book.

It is a romance, but there is so much more to it. It is set in both Montreal, Canada and Phenom Phen, Cambodia. Sounds exotic but the time frame is just after the genocide that happened in Cambodia in the 70's. There isn't any graphic violence, but the emotional punch is vibrant. The entire book is written like a memory, a women remembering what happened 30years ago. The way it's written it's like watching a dream, some parts are so vibrant that you can almost feel as if you are there, then others that are muted by hazy edges.

I got to meet Kim Echlin last night. It was great being able to talk about her book and learn some of the background behind the story. She was in Cambodia about 8 years ago and was able to tell us about the beauty of the country and the wounds inflicted during that horrific time the Cambodian people are still trying to heal.

How she used classic archetypes and was influenced by different mythologies. Anne and Serey's love was doomed to end tragedy. That alone would have stopped me from reading the book, I like my happily-ever-afters . I'm glad Rose convinced me to read it. I didn't feel cheated by the end, although it will take me a bit more time to figure out why. This is a story that has stayed with me long after I finished the last page. There is closure, although not how you would expect. Maybe it's because I feel like Anne is writing her story down because it has taken her 30 years to come to terms with the events. As if this is her final good-bye to Serey?

On a more technical side...

There are no quotation marks and the entire story is a plethora of dialogue tags. Dialogue tags! There, out in the open, on the printed page mocking me! LOL It works though because it makes her writing feel like you are watching a memory and are not directly involved in what is happening. The odd time I would loose track of who was speaking but not so often that it drove me nuts.

So be brave! Go out and pick a book you normally wouldn't read and give it a try. If you need any wine suggestions to go along with it I can help with that. *G* Let me know in the comments what books stayed with you long after you read them.

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