Safe Passage

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The fierceness of a mother's love and the worry and guilt that accompany it are the subjects of this funny, suspenseful novel of a family waiting to hear if their marine son and brother in Beirut has been killed in a terrorist bombing raid.
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Safe Passage

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The fierceness of a mother's love and the worry and guilt that accompany it are the subjects of this funny, suspenseful novel of a family waiting to hear if their marine son and brother in Beirut has been killed in a terrorist bombing raid.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut provides the crisis element in this moving novel about a family waiting to hear if a son and brother has survived the blast. During the course of the three long days between news of the bombing and the call that they alternately hope for and dread, the Singer family is transformed by the agony of suspense. Held hostage in the limbo of expectation, each of the six other brothers develops his own response to thoughts of Percival's death. The youngest, Simon, born with a missing ear, decides that he will make a deal with God to have reconstructive surgery if Percival has survived. Gideon, long Percival's rival at track meets, develops a phantom paralysis. Their father Patrick has periodic bouts of inexplicable blindness. The central figure, their mother Mag, is riddled with guilt and doubts. ``I never wanted children,'' she says. ``This is the punishment.'' Finally, bone-weary and numb with grief, she vents her frustrations on a neighbor's menacing dog. In these desperate hours, the family first turns on itself but then slowly begins to heal, as if in preparation for the blow, if Percival is indeed among those lying crushed beneath the wreckage. Bache's language is fluid and funny, and one comes to care about every one of her characters. There are echoes of John Irving in her evocation of this all-American family, but she skillfully avoids the cute or disgusting possibilities, and the results are vivid and heartwarming. Literary Guild alternate. (August)
Library Journal
In October 1983, terrorists bombed the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. Debut novelist Bache has used this event as a backdrop and the fictional Singer family as a vehicle in this work, distinguished by a fine sense of irony and comic detail. Starting with each person's own history with Percival, the family member stationed in Beirut at the time of the bombing, Bache unfolds, then layers these perspectives, creating a complete picture of the Singers and their inter relationships. Individuals are demystified and the family organism revealed in richly entertaining, yet poignant and believable episodes. The conclusion brings the reader to an understanding the family has just begun to share. A wonderful character study likely to appeal to adults and young adults. Susan E. Parker, Harvard Law Sch. Lib., Cambridge
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517568071
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/1/1988
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 234

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2002

    Great Story about Maternal Guilt and Terrorism

    The Mag's son, a Marine, is missing after the 1983 bombing of Beirut, and while the family waits to hear his fate, she goes through all the anguished emotions all mothers face, when they decide they should have been tending to their children instead of themselves -- and finally realize that would have been impossible. Especially heart-rending after September 11.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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