A Complicated Kindness, Toews
|A 16-year-old rebels against the conventions of her strict Mennonite community and tries to come to terms with the collapse of her family in this insightful, irreverent coming-of-age novel. In bleak rural Manitoba, Nomi longs for her older sister, Tash ("she was so earmarked for damnation it wasn't even funny"), and mother, Trudie, each of whom has recently fled fundamentalist Christianity and their town. Her gentle, uncommunicative father, Ray, isn't much of a sounding board as Nomi plunges into bittersweet memory and grapples with teenage life in a "kind of a cult with pretend connections to some normal earthly conventions."
Well written story about a young girl growing up in a strict Mennonite Community in Canada. Her mom and sister flee the town, leaving her with her father, who loves the church but loves her mom as well. How the father and Nomi, the daughter, deal with their lives that are spiraling apart is compelling.The Alexandria Link
|Cotton Malone (recently retired from the Department of Justice's Magellan Billet, which specializes in extra-sensitive international investigations), has reinvented himself as a seller of rare books in Copenhagen. Trouble, of course, finds him even in Denmark--first in the person of his ex-wife, who bears the news that their son has been kidnapped. Then the kidnappers convince Malone of their seriousness by torching his bookstore. The central conflict here comes from the fact that what the kidnappers want--"the Alexandria link," the key to locating the remains of the vanished library of Alexandria--is the one thing Malone, who knows the whereabouts of the link, cannot give them.
I was listening to this on audio and it was short, which is the only reason I got through it. Honestly, the worst book I've read/listened to in a long time. It's a shame, because it's an interesting premise -- the lost library of Alexandria still exists, and contained in the library is a secret that could threaten the balance of power in the middle east. But the writing is formulaic, there's waaaayyyy too much random shooting even for this brand of political "thriller," the interesting aspects of the history of the library don't get developed, and I felt it put Arabic people in a very stereotypical light.