While The Sun Is Above Us by Melanie Schnell: A Review

While The Sun Is Above Us  5 Stars

Recommended for: everyone
Read from December 15 to 30, 2012 — I own a copy

Book synopsis:

While The Sun Is Above Us takes readers deep into the extraordinary world of Sudan through the intertwined narratives of two women. In the midst of a bloody civil war, Adut is brutally captured and held as a slave for eight years. Sandra, fleeing her life in Canada, travels to South Sudan as an aid worker but soon finds herself unwittingly embroiled in a violent local conflict. When chance brings Adut and Sandra together in a brief but profound moment, their lives change forever.

In captivating prose, Melanie Schnell offers imaginative insight into the lives of innocents in a land at war, rendering horrific experiences with exquisite clarity. While The Sun Is Above Us explores the immense power of the imagination, the human desire for connection, and the endurance of hope.
My Review
An amazing heart wrenching read that makes you grateful to be alive and sad for the lives that others are destined to live.

Beautifully written, a masterpiece tale of 2 women, one from Canada and one from Sudan, a Dinka, and their struggle for freedom.

I corresponded with the author to thank her for the courage and honesty in writing this piece of fiction and also to let her know that while I was engrossed with the story I was having a hard time reading it. It leaves you open, raw, needing to pause and to breathe in some air and to seek some comfort from comfortable things before journeying back to its pages. She wrote back telling me it took her 10 years to complete this novel because many times she needed to break for long periods of time before she could once again set pen to the pages that needed to be written.

Thank you Melanie Schnell for taking the time to tell a story that needs to be heard. Thank you for doing so in a way that was gentle enough that I could swallow the medicine.  This is a must read for anyone interested in knowing what war does to those who have their homeland stripped away from them and the insatiability of the human need to survive.
Categories: Book Review, Canadian, Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro – A Review


A wonderful collection of short stories. Poignant tales of love, loss, change. The stories are unsettling, messy, like life. The characters are not perfect but very human in all their flaws, their dreams, their realities.
It was not an easy read. The stories themselves are well written but the characters are complex and messy and left me many times searching for answers that simply are not there. It is like life.

The piece de resistance is the last section of this book called “FINALE”. Munro’s introduction to this section:

“The final four works in this book are not quite stories. They form a separate unit, one that is autobiographical in feeling, though not, sometimes, entirely so in fact. I believe they are the first and last – and the closest – things I have to say about my own life.” 

It is in this section you get a glimpse into Munro’s upbringing, the roots of her personality. The very last piece of work entitled “Dear Life” brings together the whole book nicely and reveals the true underlying theme – forgiveness – of one’s deeds, one’s life, one’s memories.

I received this book as an Advance Reading Copy from the publisher, Alfred A. Knopf,  through Goodreads.  I was elated when I was notified that I had won but even more satisfied now that I have finished reading this gem.

I can’t help but wonder, if because of Munro’s age, she has penned this work with the idea that it may be her last; it is definitely her most revealing.

Categories: Book Review, Canadian, Fiction, Short Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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