Wednesday, March 18, 2015

We Are Called To Rise - Laura McBride

Last summer I attended the Nashville book fest and they handed out pre-release paperbacks at one of the seminars.  My friend was given this one and sent it along to me as a good read.  I agree!  It's the story of four people's lives intersecting in tragic and uplifting ways.  Bashkim, a young Albanian trying to straddle his family life and a new life in Las Vegas; Avis, weathering a divorce while her son struggles after returning from Iraq; Luis, recovering from an injury and memories of his actions and Roberta, the social worker advocate trying to help.

First off, I was intrigued by the portrayal of Las Vegas as a boom town; I'd not thought of it in that way and it changed my perception of those who chose to live there.  I was also pleased to see a 53 year old first time author have success.

I'm not a fan of the multiple story lines switching with each chapter that is so popular these days but I kept reading and overlooked it as the story deepened.  One criticism I had was that the child's voice, Bashkim, who is about 8 or 9, is unconvincing.  In fact, all four voices are not significantly different.
Some lines that resonated with me:

[when Avis, the divorcee, is deciding what to toss when moving] "If I don't save these things, I have lost something.  It's not just that objects release memories, it's also that they keep them in check.  ...If I just have this one life--if I made all these mistakes in it, felt all this joy and all this pain--I want to know what it was.  I want to know what it really meant".

[Roberta] "..I'd rather live knowing I made a mistake than wondering if I could have made a difference if I'd tried."

[Avis] "Failing isn't proof that nothing matters or that we were fools to care.  We fail even though things matter very much; it's the possibility of failure that makes them matter even more....It all matters....What is most beautiful is lease acknowledged.  What is worth dying for is barely noticed."

A book well worth reading.

Published: 2014  Read: March 2015  Genre: Fiction

ISBN: 978-1-4767-3896-3

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