Zack Love has recently published a new book that is in a very different genre to “Sex in the Title” which I read with great interest and enjoyment. In this new work Love shows us a much more serious side.
This is a book that deals with both big themes of our time on a geopolitical level as well as the ever present and very human drives for progress, recognition and love. The plot starts off with a gruesome bang in the Syrian civil war, setting the tragic scene and reminding us of the horror and vintage of that conflict. We move rapidly with our heroine to the USA where the author chooses to use a mixture of diary entries and letters to tell in retrospect large parts of the story. This is a neat artifice as we are introduced to more characters and see the story unfold through several perspectives.
Love handles the obviously treacherous minefield of politics and religion with straight forward sensitivity. At times it makes for challenging reading.
I note the sensitivity of the writing because it is almost too easy to either gloss over the issues or become altogether bombastic and rhetorical. The setting of the book is well thought out, considered and effective. There are many messages that we can take from this book and the culture clashes between Syrian and American, the differences in ideology and the more mundane considerations of growing up all find their way into the plot and while we may not find the answers here, we might feel a bit better informed and a little bit more aware of the difficulties.
The characters in this book seem initially generic but rapidly Love adds depth to each and as we move through the book it is clear that not all is what it might seem, secrets abound and who knows where the story might go next.
My only issue with the book is that it ended too soon. The stage is very well set for the next book.
This book was published 6th November 2014 and is described as:
Anissa is traumatized by the most brutal conflict of the 21st Century: the Syrian Civil War. In 2012, Islamists in Homs terrorize a Syrian-Christian community and destroy everything that a young woman holds dear. Narrowly escaping death, Anissa restarts her devastated life as a college student in NY. She is bewildered and lost — a virgin in every sense.
But despite her inexperience with men and life in the United States, Anissa is quickly drawn to two powerful individuals: Michael Kassab, the Syrian-American leader working to found the first Mideast Christian state, and Julien Morales, her Columbia University professor who runs a $20 billion hedge fund.
Complicating matters, Michael is still attached to his ex-girlfriend and Julien is the most sought after bachelor in Manhattan (and has hidden demons even his therapist can’t extract). Anissa’s heart and her communal ties pull her in different directions, as she seeks hope and renewal in a dark world.
WARNING: This book is about a young woman’s difficult journey: her escape from Syria’s Civil War, her transition to a new a country, and the relationships that she forms along the way, including her romantic interests in two very different men. The story is set against the backdrop of the Syrian Civil War and makes reference to violent acts, sometimes in detail. There is some occasional profanity and a few scenes that depict sexual intimacy. Accordingly, the recommended minimum age for readers is 16. The novel might be compared to books like “The Diary of Anne Frank” or “The Kite Runner.””