Sunday, January 17, 2021

I Loved This Book

Bonnye Matthews has done something incredible in this book.  She invents a culture that is believable despite being fantastic, stunningly severe even while it is incredibly compassionate.  Pre-modern human groups, one of which includes the protagonist, Ki'ti, are living in a semi-nomadic subsistence lifestyle in Asia, when a volcanic eruption forces some of them to move.  Differences among groups in spiritual and moral ethics are seamlessly imagined against a backdrop where men are hunting for large mammals with hand weapons and people are living mostly in caves.  But the star, the focal brilliance, of this story is not the danger of the hunt or the drama of the volcano, it is the growth of Ki'ti from a young child to the wise woman responsible for maintaining the oral traditions of her people, and the tremendous burdens and joys that it brings her along the way.  Though it is the start of a longer story, this book is nevertheless a wonderful read on its own.  It has a lyrical pace that is difficult to capture in words, with steady, fluid movement, often surprising, toward a future that we all are living, but by a path that is not at all clear but is delightfully uncovered one step at a time.  I feel no reservations in highly recommending this book.

Troy Hamon, Author, 14 Days to Alaska