Carmen Aguirre’s memoirs are incredibly moving. Carmen, an 11 year old trailing after her revolutionary Mother and step-father as they leave the safety of exile in Canada to travel around Latin America living life underground as part of the Resistance. Painting a vivid picture of the poverty, and heart-break this lifestyle brought to Carmen and her family. The book is consuming and I read it in one-sitting. If anything I would have liked to know more about Ale, Carmen’s sister, however in the acknowledgements Ale is described as a very private person. The fear, secrecy, paranoia and sacrifices that life in the resistance brings were brought to life through this book for me and had me asking the question – would I have been this brave?
“I spoke uselessly, but I could not believe it: a life disappeared in front of us, down into the desert cracks, as simple as a shift in the clouds.”
Switching from Kashgar, Eastern Turkestan, 1923 to London, present day Suzanne Joinson connects the interlocking stories.
Millicent, and sisters Lizzie and Eva are missionaries who are stranded in Kashgar. Eva narrates our story and through her eyes religion, deception and politics unfold. I loved the sense of danger created and the epic journey undertaken.
In the present day, Frieda is a well drawn character but Joinson struggles to tie the plot together without introducing a superfluous character, who slightly detracted from my enjoyment of the novel. The sense of urgency was lost in the resolution but overall the book is an amazing adventure.
The recent arrests of Greenpeace campaigners in the Arctic by Russia after two activists tried to climb onto an offshore platform reminded me of “The Tourist Trial: A Novel”.
John Yunker’s novel is many things a thriller, romance and ecological campaign. Yunker manages to combine these elements with a confident writing style to create a compelling novel. The characters are well drawn and convincing. Angela particularly struck a chord with me as did Diesel the penguin.
The theme of environmental damage is skilfully woven throughout the book; facts and emotions are mixed together and the character’s reactions are believable. One choice in particular that Angela makes, could have in a less competent author’s hands been a gendered cliche. But Yunker portray’s Angela’s sense of loss and building rage in a way that consumes you and pulls you into her struggle.
Highly recommend ****