Friday, July 11, 2008

The White Mary by Kira Salak

Marika Vecera is a journalist with no fear. From the time she was twenty years old she has thrown herself into the most dangerous places on earth for the sake of getting to the heart of whatever conflict, genocide or famine that she is researching. And she has succeeded brilliantly, becoming an award winning writer, though it has cost her dearly. More than she even realizes.

When she meets Seb Gilman and falls in love, she decides that it might be time to take a break. It was easy to place no value on her own life when she had no close family or loved ones. But now Seb, of course, wants to protect her and keep her away from danger. Marika realizes that she has avoided serious relationships up to this point for that very reason, but will try to change for his sake.

She decides to write a book. A biography of a legendary journalist named Robert Lewis, who has been like a mentor and father figure to Marika for most of her life, though she has never met him. Her meticulous research involves interviewing family and friends of Mr. Lewis, reading everything that he wrote and watching interviews that he did. She can't talk to him, though, he committed suicide the year before by drowning himself.

Or did he? A letter from an elderly missionary falls into Marika's hands. He says that he saw Robert Lewis in the jungle of Papua New Guinea after his reported suicide. No one believes him. But the seed has been planted and Marika feels the need to find out for herself. Never mind that no sane person would venture into the deep jungles of PNG. Without even realizing what she is doing, she instigates a break with Seb so that she will be free to do what she wants to do.

Her journey into the jungle will come close to killing her but will also be a revelation. Her guide is a native witch doctor, Tobo, who reluctantly leads this strange woman where she wants to go. He saves her life repeatedly and teaches her surprising things about the world and herself.

When reading the descriptive scenes in the book of war zones and cruelty you realize that the author has been there, there is the ring of truth about them, she has seen them for herself. The experiences of cutting through the jungle, the heat, the smells and sounds, are very clearly described. The author's personal experience shines through. I think that there is much of Kira Salak in Marika Vecera. It's a very interesting book about a woman trying to understand herself and unravel her motivations.

The White Mary by Kira Salak will be published by Henry Holt in August, 2008
Order The White Mary from Amazon

14 comments:

Marie said...

Nice review!

Alyce said...

This book sounds amazing! Now I really want to know what happens to both Marika and Mr. Lewis.

Janel said...

Wow, this sounds like it can get pretty intense. Thanks for doing such a great review.

Becca said...

Now I’m intrigued. I need to know what happens!

Cindy said...

What a review. This book sounds really good. Its going to go on TBR list.

blueviolet said...

What a well written review. Now I really want to read it!
doot65{at}comcast[dot]net
Elizabeth

Shana said...

Great review. I really like when you can tell via her writing that an author has experienced a foreign locale first hand.

Trish said...

This book sounds very interesting. Thanks for reviewing it!

Anna said...

Sounds like a great book. I love when the author actually has experience in the place they are writing about. Great review!

--Diary of an Eccentric
diaryofaneccentric[at]hotmail[dot]com

Sandra said...

I enjoyed your review. I like to read novels with settings in places I've never been, with customs that are different from mine. This sounds like a 'must read'to me. Thanks for reviewing it.

Melissa said...

Great review! Yet another book added to my TBR list!

Melissa

wordlily said...

Since I worked as a journalist, I love reading books starring journalists! Fun.

gwendolyn said...

This sounds really good. I'd heard of this book, but now I really want to check it out! Thanks for the interesting review.

tashiana said...

a very interesting review
i like that the author put some of herself into the character
and ooo this is another ghost-like tale
is he alive? is he dead? is he a ghost?

i definetely wouldn't mind reading this
and the cover art is to die for

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About Me

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.