October 3, 2012

The Book of Jonas

no idea where i heard about this one, but it was quite good. a short, sparse story told from several different perspectives. the blurb from Amazon.com tells it like it is:

Jonas is fifteen when his family is killed during an errant U.S. military operation in an unnamed Muslim country. With the help of an international relief organization, he is sent to America, where he struggles to assimilate-foster family, school, a first love. Eventually, he tells a court-mandated counselor and therapist about a U.S. soldier, Christopher Henderson, responsible for saving his life on the tragic night in question. Christopher's mother, Rose, has dedicated her life to finding out what really happened to her son, who disappeared after the raid in which Jonas' village was destroyed. When Jonas meets Rose, a shocking and painful secret gradually surfaces from the past, and builds to a shattering conclusion.

it's telling that our current war has lingered for so long that novels about it have reached publication. the author, Stephen Dau, worked for years in post-war reconstruction and international development, and i'm sure Jonas is based on a number of people he encountered along the way. Dau is also from Pittsburgh, where the American half of the story takes place. how could you not love a book that includes scenes in the Cathedral of Learning AND The O? 

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