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Posted May 9, 2013
Like an archaeologist meticulously excavating a dig of great con
Like an archaeologist meticulously excavating a dig of great consequence, Nan Cuba reveals, layer by layer, the history of three linked families, their alliances and mesalliances, and the secrets that threaten to tear the surviving members apart. The author's keen eye, like that of a seasoned natural scientist, misses nothing--from the exquisite details of the natural world to the precisely choreographed ambulation of a paraplegic. I was especially captivated by the narrator, a distinguished professor, who, despite her academic achievements, lives a solitary, even hermetic existence. Dr. Sarah Pelton does not present as a warm and fuzzy character--stand-offish, self-absorbed, determinedly ensconced in her ivory tower--but unresolved grief around the suicide of her cherished older brother reveals the all-too-human self masked by her absorption in scholarship. Pelton's nuanced flashbacks to childhood reveal a very different Sarah: at once the bright, inquisitive daughter of parents preaching tradition and respectability and the sister who idolizes her maverick, self-destructive brother, ever urging her to embrace the unfamiliar and chart her own course. Part coming-of-age story, part spiritual journey, Body and Bread is an intelligent, compassionate narrative that deftly navigates the vital realms of myth and memory, death and rebirth.
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Posted June 29, 2013
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