Given news from Syria in recent years I was hesitant to read this book, not believing that a story about a beekeeper could capture war, loss, and devastation. Once I started reading, the chapters flowed into one another with a pace matched only by the intensity of Nuri and Afrah’s journey as they fled Syria. This book, informed by Lefteri’s refugee volunteer work with UNICEF in Athens, Greece and her own experience as a daughter of Cypriot refugees, makes you stay up late or miss your bus stop (or both!). If we are lucky, our hearts will ache and grow, love and mourn, grieve and be more open than before.
For anyone who follows current events, Samantha Power tells a riveting, personal and poignant story. She details her Irish upbringing, emigration at age 9 to the U.S., and her journey as a student, activist, journalist, and academic prior to becoming Special Assistant to the President and then US Ambassador to the UN under the Obama administration. With humor, self-deprecation, and sobering descriptions of how policies, decisions, and relationships are forged at the highest levels of government and diplomacy, she recounts difficult personal, public health, and political issues she and often times many others tried to address. At the foundation is her idealism and the growing realization that while we may not be able to fix everything, we must do our best.
Be prepared to glide across time, distance, and families in Regina Porter’s debut novel. Her writing has rightly been described as “effortless” and is a joy to read. You come to know well two families, one black and one white, and how related they (and we all) are. As I marveled at her ability to portray each family member so deftly, I wondered– what would happen if she spent a week with my extended family?!
At the heart of this historical fiction is the lifelong friendship of two girls growing up in a matriarchal sea-diving community on the South Korean Island of Jeju.
While Korean (and world) history envelops the island we get a glimpse of a remarkable community of women that really exists and is not long for this world. Choices we make and how and IF we forgive are explored.