Cross Currents

Cross Currents

4.6 15
by John Shors

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Thailand's pristine Ko Phi Phi island attracts tourists from around the world. There, struggling to make ends meet, small-resort owners Lek and Sarai are happy to give an American named Patch room and board in exchange for his help. But when Patch's brother, Ryan, arrives, accompanied by his girlfriend, Brooke, Lek learns that Patch is running from the law, and his

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Thailand's pristine Ko Phi Phi island attracts tourists from around the world. There, struggling to make ends meet, small-resort owners Lek and Sarai are happy to give an American named Patch room and board in exchange for his help. But when Patch's brother, Ryan, arrives, accompanied by his girlfriend, Brooke, Lek learns that Patch is running from the law, and his presence puts Lek's family at risk. Meanwhile, Brooke begins to doubt her love for Ryan while her feelings for Patch blossom.

In a landscape where nature's bounty seems endless, these two families are swept up in an approaching cataclysm that will require all their strength of heart and soul to survive...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The fifth novel from Shors (Beneath a Marble Sky) features young Americans so unworldly as to strain credulity, local Thais so saintly and industrious as to be unintentionally patronizing, and a questionable use of the 2004 Asian Tsunami for deus ex machina purposes. After punching a Bangkok policeman during a botched drug deal, Patch (a young American tourist) flees to the beautiful, remote island of Kho Phi Phi, where he plans to hide until he can either sneak out of the country or muster the courage to turn himself in and serve a year in Thai prison. He is soon taken in by Lek and Sarai, the owners of the beachfront Rainbow Resort. Despite the resort's idyllic location, the couple struggles to make ends meet and constantly worry that they will have to look for work in Bangkok. Soon, Patch's older brother Ryan and Ryan's girlfriend Brooke arrive to try and persuade Patch to turn himself in. After a few days, Brooke is unsure which brother is right for her: priggish, well-meaning Ryan or wild, soulful Patch. Unfortunately, the novel doesn't even function as a tropical soap opera—only the morbidly curious will read on to the mildly distasteful finale. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"Gripping, moving, and ravishingly written, Shors' latest is a stunning story of family, connection, and the astonishing power of nature."—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

"A maelstrom of riveting action. I loved this book." — Karl Marlantes, New York Times bestselling author of Matterhorn

"A supremely readable tale." — Joan Silber, bestselling author of The Size of the World

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sold by:
Penguin Group
File size:
459 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

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Cross Currents 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Humbee More than 1 year ago
I'm a long-time fan of John Shors, having jumped head first on his fan-wagon when I cracked the opening pages of "The Marble Sky." I had never read anything quite like that novel. It was simply spectacular and I recommend it to everyone. Since that novel, Shors has continued to produce incredibly stellar work; most recently the slightly heartbreaking and amazingly soulful "The Dragon House" about a children's shelter in Viet Nam. My expectations, then were very high for "Cross Currents." So when it was a bit slow in the uptake for John's usual book it was frightening for someone who loves his work like I do. There was too much information about the children of the Thai family on which the novel focuses for me. I didn't really care about the minute details of the family's day-to-day activities. I was ready for the "Shor Show" that I knew he was able to produce!! I nearly put the book down and wondered what happened to --why was this novel so different? What happened was what happens to all good fans of a favorite author: I refused to give up on the novel. I kept picking it back up and I kept reading. Soon the story began to really develop the American character, Patch, giving him a depth of angst, heart and unselfishness. When his brother and girlfriend come to Thailand's island of Ko Phi Phi to see him; and Ryan wants to convince Patch to take a difficult, untenable turn in his life, the plot really heats up. Suddenly, this book was reading like a true Shors novel! I relay all of this to you simply to let you know that this may be a novel you'll have to give a chance. It's a wonderful story. What John was doing in the beginning was causing us to get to know the local family that his American protagonist came to love. He wanted us to understand the character and culture of the island people whose lives were destroyed in the Ko Phi Phi tsunami. In "Cross Currents" there are characters you'll fall in love with who have depth of feeling and intensity of humanity. When the tragedy of the tsunami devastates Ko Phi Phi you'll be crushed in the throes of the ocean with a horror only akin to that that must have been felt by those trapped on the island that day. I could not believe how vividly Shors showed me those moments! I could see it so clearly and winced with sympathetic agony when his characters were torn and thrown in the impossible turbulence. This is a powerful story full of the passion of human kindness, true love and personal sacrifice. This is a real John Shors novel. I'm happy to recommend it to you as strongly as I do his other books. 5 stars for life!
CristaBorneToRoam More than 1 year ago
As a book critic, I am sent many novels, some of which I read and enjoy, but do not have the space to review in the paper. Cross Currents is such a novel. I was drawn to, and I adored this story, which is set in Ko Phi Phi, Thailand, and involves a variety of characters--young and old, Thai and American, male and female. As the story progressed I felt increasingly connected with these characters, and by the time the tsunami hit, I was reading late into the night and stayed up until I finished. This is rare novel--both lyrical and compelling. I suspect to see it on bestseller lists and regret that I couldn't review it in the paper, but am glad to do so here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the ending and the descriptiveness...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
seagem More than 1 year ago
John Shors yet again pulls off a brilliant piece of work. This time he takes us to the island of Ko Phi Phi before and during the tsunami that hit in 2004. During this 11 day journey he manages to give you a great feeling of Thailand; it's people and their culture. It is after all 'The Land of Smiles'. As with all his books he manages to make you feel as if you are on the island itsself. You experience the sights, sounds and smells of all it has to offer. As he creates each character you are held in suspense watching them grow in love; familial, brotherly and romantic. That love is put to the test when the tsunami hits. It is truly a story about the power of love as well as the power of nature. I was deeply moved by this poignant and life-affirming novel.
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Review by JoAnne: This was a wonderful novel about family, survival and love. The main characters were a family of 5 plus their grandmother from Ko Phi Phi island in Thailand and two American brothers. Shors did a masterful job of showing us the interactions between family members in their own family as well as between the two families. The vivid descriptions of the island, boats, restaurant, bungalows, the beach and the pier made you able to visualize the words and made you feel as if you were there - to see the sights, smell the sea and the foods, feel the heat along with the coolness of the water. There was love shown between the family members and the important role each one played in the family dynamics was explored. The devastation caused by the tsunami was made real in Shors telling and the ending itself was unexpected and caused many tears even though more happy endings than I expected were reported. The story flowed effortlessly and the richness in the telling was unexpected. I have not read other books written by Shors but they will be added to my to be read pile. I just hope the others are as well written as Cross Currents. Favorite Quote: "...As the sun approached the horizon, its light changed colors, as if it were penetrating stained glass at an ancient cathedral, illuminating the island and sea in scarlet and amber. The sun's descent was slow and peaceful, as were the sounds of dusk - the beeps of tree frogs mingling with the distant drone of longboat engines."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MyStackOfBooks More than 1 year ago
Cross Currents may be the most powerful, beautiful novel I've ever read. The novel takes place over an eleven day period in Ko Phi Phi, Thailand, and follows an American and a Thai family in the days before the tsunami of 2004. I felt so strongly connected to the characters in this novel. I loved them, and when the wave came toward the end of the book, I literally did not put it down until I finished. I just kept thinking--wow.
ReviewsByMolly More than 1 year ago
Stunning. Absolutely stunning. That is the best way to describe this novel by John Shors. His emotional passion, his richly detailed events, and his tenderly created characters work together in a way that pulls the readers in instantly and takes them on an emotional, thought provoking journey. Upon opening the pages of Cross Currents, I thought to myself, that I wouldn't really like this novel. After reading more about it, I just didn't think it would be for me. But, committed to giving this author a chance, I read it. When I closed the book, I was so happy that I didn't pass it by. It really, truly blew me away. Lek and Sarai were beautiful characters. They really showed the readers, through Mr. Shors detailed pages, what it's like to try to make the best of what you have. Patch, the American staying with Lek and Sarai and their family, helping them out around their resort, was another passionately created character. Though Patch was in trouble and hiding out with Lek and Sarai, earning his keep, I still enjoyed his character. Watching him interact with the Thai family was awesome. It showed how two cultures can be brought together and really learn about each other, really interact and become friends. Enter Ryan and Brook, Patch's brother and his girlfriend. Two more characters to fall in love with! I loved this author. I am now a forever fan! This novel is so much more than just a great read. It's a story that will leave you breathless, thinking about places far off, wondering what life is really like there on an island like Ko Phi Phi, what life is really like when you have to make ends meet. But it will also show you the TRUE power of friendship, of a devoted family, of sticking together no matter what the end result will be. I definitely give this novel a 5 Book worthy rating and will be putting it at the top of my recommendation list. I am anxious to go back and read more of this author's work, as well as, seeing what he has in store for his new (and previously devoted!) fans.
Grady1GH More than 1 year ago
John Shors has secured his place among popular American novelists of the decade with this his sixth novel that combines a growing respect of the beauties of the globe and the intricacies of the manner in which characters seemingly misplaced in locales seek to find themselves only to discover that their place in the confusion of the world is close at hand, partially shaded by nature's vagaries. CROSS CURRENTS is Shors reaction to the now almost forgotten massively destructive tsunami that devastated much of Thailand in December 2004. His love of travel to exotic places seems to instill in him an obsession for his readers to visit the places that have meant much to him. In preparation for this particular novel he revisited Thailand several times, gathering information for his plot, but more important, soaking in the cultural differences in this exotic locales so that he might paint it more accurately. He introduces us to a Thai family of simple means - Lek, Sarai, and their three children who make a living running an island tourist `resort' on the island of Ko Phi Phi. They have given harbor to an American lad by the name of Patch whom we later learn is avoiding the law after a poorly judged run-in with drug dealing. Patch and the children are particularly close and Patch's presence helps the little family survive. From the United States comes Patches look alike brother Ryan with his girlfriend Brooke: Ryan is there in Thailand to convince Patch to turn himself in to the authorities, take his punishment and get on with his life. The brothers are very close, but different in their values systems. A rife divides not only the brothers but also unstable bond between Ryan and Brooke. After each of the brothers realizes the value of the other and the world begins to make a little sense, the tsunami comes and destroys the island and many of the inhabitants, but the fate of Patch and Ryan and Brooke and Ryan's newly discovered love of a massage girl Dao is altered in a strange way that brings closure to the story. Shors has the ability to take us to the locations where he places his novels to the point that we can smell the air, feel the water, taste the cuisine, and most important understand the inhabitants of these far off lands' peoples. He has a gift in relating formation of relationships of all kinds and manipulates his characters in such a way that they become close friends of ours, making us feel their joys and sorrows like few other authors can. And a pleasure associated with his writing is the lack of need for exaggerated language or sex: everything happens naturally and while he doesn't concentrate on dwelling with issues that can become tiresome, nor does he deny these exist. It is a matter of taste in his writing that overcomes the need for smarmy writing. He has the gift as is obvious by the accolades from famous authors pasted in the first pages of his book. John Shors will be around for a long time. Grady Harp
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AngieIAM More than 1 year ago
Cross Currents is the best novel that I have read in 2011. The story is as beatiful as the cover.
ErinSmoltz More than 1 year ago
This novel about the Indian Ocean tsunami was everything to me: humorous, unusual, beautiful, memorable, and powerful.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 2004 at Ko Phi Phi Island, Thailand is a major stop for tourists from all parts of the globe. Married locals Lek and Sarai raise their seven month old baby Achata as well as their older children while also running a failing resort since the larger firms have discovered the beauty of the islands. Feeling desperate they agree to give room and board to Patch the visiting American in exchange for his help at the resort. Patch's brother Ryan and his girlfriend Brooke arrive from the States. Lek is shocked to learn Patch is a fugitive and his presence in their lives places his family in jeopardy. Adding to the confusion is the behavior of Brooke who since their arrival begins to doubt she loves Ryan as she is attracted to Patch. Then without warning two monstrous waves hit the island from both ends before converging in the middle. Based on the real killing event that hit this island and many other locations, Cross Currents is an exhilarating thriller with an underlying theme to never forget any tragedy but especially one of this mind boggling magnitude. The story line is character driven (by the two extended families) as the audience sees the difference between the Thais from the island and from the mainland cities like Bangkok, and the visitors. All that changes when the tsunami is an equal opportunity killer ignoring ethnicity, religion and culture when it comes to death; those still alive in order to survive the ordeal need to trust and rely on one another or die. This is a great look at the killer tsunami that left behind over seventy times the deaths of the 9/11 tragedy as 230,000 plus died. Harriet Klausner