The path to happiness can be crooked and twisted with daunting barriers along the way. In Vanessa MacLellan’s debut novel, Three Great Lies, the key characters seek their own forms of happiness – only attainable when they recognize the truth about themselves.
MacLellan sets her tale in Egypt. Her bored and self-absorbed protagonist, Jeannette, decides to trust a local teenaged boy, to show her a newly opened tomb with no tourists. She survives a harrowing ride in a motorcycle sidecar to arrive at the site. Like Alice before her, she soon finds herself tumbling down the rabbit hole. Jeannette awakens from the fall and learns she is still in Egypt, but Egypt from 3,000 years ago.
Humanity Behind the Wall
Review: In Times of Fading Light
Joseph F. Berenato
In Times of Fading Light
Eugen Ruge, Translated by Anthea Bell
Fiction – Novel
Graywolf Press, pp. 308
My generation comprised the last of the Cold War Kids, and the Communist Bloc was still a very real thing during my childhood. It didn’t matter if we were talking about soldiers or scholars, presidents or peasants; any person beyond the Berlin Wall was the enemy. It was inconceivable to us that anyone who lived on the other side of the Iron Curtain could be painted as anything but “Godless Communists”. Yet that is exactly what Eugen Ruge did in his out-of-the-gate hit In Times Of Fading Light, which spans almost sixty years of family and national history.
The story is not told linearly; instead, the narrative jumps back and forth in a series of vignettes starting and ending in 2001 just days after September 11, and going as far back as 1952 (the year that the German Democratic Republic – East Germany – closed its border to West Germany). By telling these tales through a multitude of characters’ points of view – one story in particular is told from six unique perspectives on October 1, 1989, slightly more than a month before the fall of the Berlin Wall – Ruge gives us an intimate look at characters who are every bit as hopeful, talented, jaded and flawed as their Western rivals.