The Curve of the World

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When his plane is forced to make an emergency landing in a remote area of the Congo basin and rebels seize the aircraft, Lewis Burke, a New York businessman, flees into the rainforest, only to find himself alone in a world where no rules apply and with no apparent way out. As he struggles to survive under the thick canopy of trees, battling thirst and hunger in the unrelenting heat, he confronts his deepest fears-and his greatest disappointments: his crumbling marriage; his distant relationship with his ...
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After his plane makes an emergency landing in a remote area in the Congo basin and rebels seize the aircraft, Lewis Burkde, a businessman, flees into the rainforest. Suddenly he's ... lost in a world where no rules apply and with no apparent way out. As he struggles to survive in the unrelenting heat, battling thirst and hunger, he confronts his darkest fears and his greatest disappointments. When his wife discovers that he has disappeared, she makes the daring decision to search for him in Africa. As she and 7-year-old Shane trek upriver into the forest, Shane's visions and dreams of his father give her hope. But just as Lewis cannot find his way out, they are thwarted at every turn by the military conflict raging around them. Lewis is rescued, but what of his wife and son? 302 pages, no marks or tears. The author has spent significant time in Africa, lending realism to his debut novel. 8vo - over 7?" - 9?" tall. Read more Show Less

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Overview


When his plane is forced to make an emergency landing in a remote area of the Congo basin and rebels seize the aircraft, Lewis Burke, a New York businessman, flees into the rainforest, only to find himself alone in a world where no rules apply and with no apparent way out. As he struggles to survive under the thick canopy of trees, battling thirst and hunger in the unrelenting heat, he confronts his deepest fears-and his greatest disappointments: his crumbling marriage; his distant relationship with his seven-year-old son, Shane; and the lack of meaning in his life. When his wife, Helen, a former volunteer for World Aid, makes the daring decision to find him in Africa, The Curve of the World becomes a story of crossing barriers and regaining love and conviction.

As Helen and Shane journey upriver into the forbidding rainforest, bringing them closer to Lewis, Shane begins to have visions and dreams of his father. But just as Lewis cannot find his way out of the jungle, Helen is thwarted at every turn by the military conflict raging around them. In the end it is an unlikely hero, a young Congolese boy, who courageously guides Lewis through the forest and to a side of himself he thought he had lost.

Powerfully written and mesmerizing in effect, The Curve of the World is a heartrending and heart-pounding page-turner that explores the limits of human resilience and the tenacity of the human spirit.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Tense, gripping, and astonishing -- there are hardly words to describe Marcus Stevens' debut novel, in which a New York businessman, Lewis Burke, struggles to escape the jungles of the Congo following the emergency landing of the jetliner that was taking him home from Paris.

Opening as the plane encounters trouble and the crew scrambles to land the plane on a remote Congolese runway, the passengers soon realize that the local soldiers who quickly board the aircraft are not the hoped-for rescuers, but rebels taking them hostage. When it appears that the rebels plan to destroy the stranded plane along with the remaining passengers, Lewis makes a run for it and flees into the nearby jungle.

Finding himself in a mosquito-infested, densely foliated landscape in the searing heat, Lewis struggles to survive; and the tasks he took for granted in the Western world -- quenching his thirst and obtaining food -- are no longer simple demands easily met. But while Lewis hides from dangerous animals and resorts to drinking contaminated water, his estranged but hopeful wife, Helen, travels to Africa with their blind son, determined to find him and bring him home. As both Lewis and Helen draw nearer, they reflect on the life they've shared and explore the circumstances that have threatened their marriage.

Readers will find themselves, as we did, casting the movie for this dramatically told story that has already been optioned by the producers of Fargo, Dead Man Walking, and Elizabeth. But don't wait for the film. Treat yourself to this incredible story now. (Spring 2002 Selection)

Publishers Weekly
This diverting first novel catches the attention immediately as an American man is cast into sudden danger in the African jungle. Lewis Burke, a Coca-Cola rep flying from Paris to Johannesburg, is aboard a commercial flight that makes a forced landing on an abandoned strip in the Congo. He panics and flees into the jungle when the passengers are threatened by trigger-happy rebels. Predictably, he becomes disoriented, wandering deeper into the tropical forest. Back home, his semi-estranged wife, Helen, has taken Shane, their seven-year-old blind son, with her to Spokane to attend to her aging mother, who has broken her hip. As the narrative alternates between Lewis and Helen, flashback self-recriminating reflections intrude awkwardly into the current action to reveal that their marriage went sour when Helen shifted her priorities to the care of their son. Increasingly terrified about her husband's plight and driven by guilt at their estrangement, Helen decides to fly to Africa with Shane. Meanwhile, Lewis, now befriended by a Congolese boy, wanders aimlessly, narrowly escaping rebels and experiencing feverish dreams of home. The plot is 0verworked, but Stevens displays competent writing and keen human insight. This author, who has traveled widely in Africa, also summon the landscape and atmosphere with vividly descriptive detail, and captures the terror of a man reduced to life's essentials. Agents, David Smith and Silvie Rabineau. $50,000 ad/promo; 8-city author tour; rights optioned by Working Title films. (May 3) FYI: For more on Stevens, see First Fiction feature in PW, Jan. 28. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Ever hear the one about the traveling salesman whose plane is downed in the Congo? He escapes rebel capture, survives leeches and murderous simians, is saved by a friendly native boy, returns to civilization, goes back to save the boy, and in the end is reunited with his estranged wife and blind son. There is nothing new in Stevens's first novel, but he puts the plot together with enough verve and solid writing that it draws in the reader. The salesman in question is Lewis Burke, who runs the African route for Coca-Cola. After his plane crashes, he experiences various adventures, which are intermixed with the stories of his marriage, the birth of his son, and the search he and his wife launch for the native child in the war-torn wilds of central Africa. The many stock characters include the snotty young journalist, the ineffectual and mendacious American consul, and both kind-hearted and corrupt Congolese. Still, Stevens keeps the pace both lively and measured, so the whole thing works as post-colonial, commercial, politically driven fiction. Invite patrons to get past the purposely "meaningful" passages, and they won't be disappointed. But also give them a list of works by Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri, T. Obinkaram Echewa, and particularly Ngugi wa Thiong'o for the insider's scoop on sub-Saharan African literature. Recommended; this book has been optioned by the producers of Fargo. Harold Augenbraum, Mercantile Lib. of New York Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Commercial-director Stevens wades into fiction with the story of an American businessman lost in the heart of Africa's darkness. Lewis is an international sales rep for Coca-Cola when the plane he's on is forced to make an emergency landing at an abandoned wartime airstrip in the middle of the jungle: while the party lands well enough, it seems that the rebel militia who discover them may kill them all anyway. In fear, Lewis runs off into the forest (he should have just stayed on the plane, since everyone was released), where he learns firsthand of the wilderness by witnessing the brutality of a chimp murder, then by his own killing of a species of dwarf antelope. He contracts malaria and is found by a young African boy named Kofi (wearing a Pepsi shirt), who provides medicine and becomes Lewis's sidekick as Lewis has phantom sex with a ndoki, a witch, and dines on monkey. Meanwhile, Lewis's estranged wife, Helen, packs up their blind-from-birth son and heads to Africa to find the father of her child. Lewis eventually makes his way to civilization but leaves Kofi behind once he gets there-then soon braves the rifles of border guards to go back to find the boy who saved him, with the result that they're both again in the jungle, running with pygmies and participating in gun battles. Helen, meanwhile, has given up searching for her husband and gone home, only to find this decision unbearable, so now she too must go to Africa with the blind boy all over again. Will she find her husband, and will their love be renewed? Do the blind boy's visions suggest magic like the ndoki's? Will Lewis survive this thinly veiled tour of modern Africa? Already optioned for film. The camera work on Africa,applied to a lush subject, should be better than Stevens's competent but dry prose. Film rights to Working Title; author tour
From the Publisher
USA Today Tense and evocative...Stevens captures the overwhelming forces of African nature.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer [A] taut, well-paced adventure.

San Francisco Chronicle A gripping read.

Boston Herald A very good first novel...that is delivered with greatpanache and telling detail.

Winston-Salem Journal Stevens's novel succeeds in combining a suspenseful plot with deeper meaning in a way that contemporary literature only infrequently manages.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565123366
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 5/3/2002
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.68 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author


Marcus Stevens lives on a farm outside Bozeman, Montana, with his wife and three children. He attended the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Los Angeles before he began his career as an award-winning commercial director. He has traveled widely in Africa.

SEAN RUNNETTE is a multiple Earphones winner, including one for his narration of The Curve of the World (with Highbridge Audio). He has also directed and produced more than 200 audiobooks including several Audie® Award winners. He is an American Repertory Theater company member and has toured internationally with Mabou Mines. TV and film appearances include Two if by Sea, Copland, Sex and the City, Law and Order, 3rd Watch and lots and lots of commercials. When not behind the mike, he also produced audiobooks and other works.

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Read an Excerpt


Through the thick glass of this porthole, the night sea is dim and indistinct, barely defining a line between sky and water. Thirty thousand feet beneath a pillow of air, the ocean's blackness swallows even the indurate light of a full moon, and it is only the clouds lingering ten thousand feet below him that offer some faint sense of promise or hope. Beyond that there is a void that extends under the silver clouds to some unfathomable infinity, like something missing, or everything missing--the way Lewis has always imagined blindness.

Most of the other passengers are sleeping, mouths agape like escape hatches flung open. The businessman across the aisle from him looks like a child this way, a desperate boy who hopes no one will see through the disguise and perceive his pillowy kindness. Lewis's eyes meet those of the only other passenger who is awake, an African man, a Muslim. He wears a white djellaba, which in the dim cabin is so brightly lit by his reading light that it gives him an ethereal look. Beyond him a flight attendant sits calmly in the jump seat, flipping through a French edition of Vogue, her stiffly made-up face lit by the warm light bouncing off the magazine.

Lewis turns back to his window. That must be Africa, slipping by beneath the clouds. He presses his face against the cool glass, which is delicately traced with frost on the outside, trying to see some detail, even to confirm that what he sees is land, but there is only an unappeasable darkness and merely his imagination to illuminate it. It seems to approach silently and steadily like sleep. He watches until the faint glimmer of the ocean is consumed by it completely and they have crossed over. His gut stirs with unease. There is an unrealness to his relationship with this place, so thoroughly insulated is he by the dull roar of the turbines, the soft bumps of turbulence in the jet stream. There is also something vaguely threatening.

Who goes to Africa? he thinks. A few camera-laden vacationers on "safari," transported by four-wheel-drive buses, still a bit aloft, or some dusty, sweaty businessmen, miners or arms salesman, the kind of men you never see in the suburbs of America, mercenaries in suits and ties, and doctors, missionaries and Peace Corp volunteers. Lewis never expected to go anywhere near Africa. Not that he avoided it, either; he just never thought of it. Not once. He changed planes in Paris for the ten-hour flight to Johannesburg without a thought of where he was going. It could have been anywhere. Selling Coca-Cola to foreign markets takes him all over the world. One of the local distributors will meet him at the gate, help him with his bags and take him to an office not that different from what he has seen in Australia or New Zealand. At first he won't even be able to distinguish the accent. They will treat him, as he is accustomed, like a client. There will be a basket of biscuits and South African wine and a hat and sunblock waiting in his hotel room.

Somehow he must have fallen asleep with his head against the window. He looks up for a flight attendant--perhaps some water. At first he cannot find her. She is no longer reading. Then he notices the African man staring with an odd intensity at the galley, where she's talking on the interphone. Something in her stance, the way she looks at the floor, the tenseness of her body, seems a bit off. Lewis presses his face into his hands. There is in this unfirm place, this moment between consciousness and unconsciousness as his mind struggles to reassert command, such fertile ground for doubt. In his stomach he can feel the plane descending. He looks for his watch; it seems early, but it could be the time zone difference. His watch isn't set right.

Then two of the other flight attendants join the first. Lewis frowns. He can't shake the impression that something is not right with this scene. The first flight attendant takes the phone away from her mouth and says something to the other two. They nod, listening intently. She gestures with some urgency, and they move off in a hurry. The African man leans out into the aisle, and with a calm hand touches the hem of the flight attendant's uniform.

"Qu'est-ce qui se passe?"

She leans down to explain, but her voice is too soft to make out. From across the cabin she catches Lewis's eyes on her as she finishes, and it's easy to see that whatever she just said was a lie. As if to prove it, the left wing of the jet dips sharply as the plane makes an abrupt course change, and the lights come on suddenly as the cabin blinks awake.

"Mesdames et messieurs, votre attention s'il vous plaet."

The tone of the captain's message is disturbing, and it's maddening to have to listen to it first in French. Lewis makes out the words la fumTe, "smoke."

"What the hell is going on?"

"English, please!"

Two flight attendants race by Lewis with a service cart rattling with loose items. They aren't taking time to gather anything from the passengers, and they are yelling as they go.

"Seat belts. Tray tables and seat backs up."

"Ladies and gentlemen. May we have your attention . . ." That much he got already, but it is oddly reassuring. He senses that in the worst kind of emergency, the kind you don't survive, there would be no time for formalities, and even though the plane is descending, it still feels normal, still under control. He can feel the subtle pressure building in his ears. The passengers are all looking up at the speakers above their heads as if to hear better.

"We are experiencing smoke in the cockpit. To ensure your safety, we must land immediately at the nearest possible airport. Flight attendants are preparing for a possible emergency landing and evacuation. Please pay close attention to all flight attendant instructions and demonstrations."

"Please take your safety cards out. Look at the brace position." The flight attendant closest to Lewis holds up her card. The passengers take them out like hymnals at church. "Lean forward and hold your ankles," she says, and then she nearly falls as the nose of the plane suddenly drops and the engines rapidly power down to an idle. There are screams throughout the cabin. The plane is falling like a rollercoaster dropping at a carnival. All around him he sees passengers grabbing their armrests. Lewis quickly tightens his belt and reaches for his safety card. The flight attendant has regained her balance, and she is leaning forward with her feet wide apart to compensate for the steep angle of the descent. She's doing her best to remain calm and demonstrate how the passengers are expected to brace for landing, but she is close enough to Lewis that he can see the fear in her eyes.

"Lean forward and hold your ankles. If that is not possible, cross your hands and place them on the seat back in front of you. Lean forward and place your head on the back of your hands. Flight attendants, check brace position." It comes rapidly, first in French and then in English, but it is hard to hear over the terrific noise of the air rushing outside the plane. They are descending at six thousand feet per minute.

"Christ." Lewis drops his card, leans forward and grabs his ankles for the rehearsal. He looks across the aisle--hands on ankles everywhere. He still has that sick feeling in his stomach. If they hit the ground going this fast, this drill will amount to nothing.

"Please sit up. Check the security of your area. Any loose or sharp objects should be removed and placed in a safe place such as a seat pocket. Flight attendants brief helpers at exits. Appel aux h(tesses. PrTparez la cabine pour l'atterrissage."

The last part of the announcement is clipped by a sudden noise and vibration over the wing. The air brakes have been deployed and now the whole frame is shaking. Lewis catches a brief glimpse of the cockpit as the lead flight attendant opens the door. There is no obvious fire, but the gray-white smoke in the cockpit is dense. The pilots are wearing heavy oxygen masks and smoke goggles. They are working frantically with checklists, scanning gauges and switches. He can see them shouting to try to communicate.

"Where?" someone yells. "Where are we landing?"

"Africa. Somewhere."

Lewis looks outside, where dawn has begun to unravel the night's grip on the continent below. What was an indistinct mass is now a deeply textured green. Land? Of course, it looks soft, a verdant carpet of luxurious tropical plant life. It is easy to imagine lying down there in a soft whisper of ferns and yellow birds, but clearly this is a forest below them, a canopy of trees, great trunks of hardwood. At ten thousand feet they are already in the forest's embrace. The patches of white cloud that race by almost have a sound to them, like showers of hailstones. A road appears, like a bright reddish-brown rip in the green fabric, and then passes behind them. At four thousand feet the plane passes over the great curve of a brown river that flashes faintly in the dawn, and then another red gash. The engines spool up and down now as the pilots struggle with the difficult approach, making rapid corrections. A hint of the sharp smoke invades the cabin. It smells toxic--burning rubber or plastic.

"Please do not be alarmed." Alarmed. It's a strange word in the Frenchman's mouth. It sounds as if it is being eaten whole. "We will be landing soon. Flight attendants will signal when it's time to assume the brace position by shouting, 'Brace!' Remain in the brace position until the airplane has completely stopped."

The landing gear rumbles into position, and the plane slows further. Their attitude is less nose down, and the terrific noise of the air rushing outside has calmed down. At about three hundred feet a flight attendant comes over the intercom.

"Brace! Courage! Baissez la tOte! Brace!"

Lewis watches as the cabin obeys, everyone bent over like puppets with their strings cut. The businessman bends over his knees. His face is slack with fear, and he is praying. The words fall from his mouth with the faint smell of alcohol. His toiletries are gripped tightly in his hands, as if for some final ablutions. The African man's hands look powerful and strong on the seat in front of him. The flight attendant closest to Lewis notices him still sitting up.

"Brace!" she shouts. He leans forward, but he cannot take his eyes away from the window. The trees seem smaller than he thought, but he realizes that his sense of scale is off, that they must rise a hundred feet or more. They pass a road and a fence at about the time they come level with the treetops.

"Brace! Baissez la tOte! Heads down!"

"Not until I see pavement," Lewis thinks aloud, as the blur of trees reaches up under the belly of the airplane as if trying to grab them, pull them down. Then the pavement is there, cracked and overgrown with weeds. Lewis puts his head down.

He closes his eyes, anticipating the impact like a child who left his body in a dream or nightmare and is now falling back at the realization that he cannot fly. He breathes in deeply and holds it. The plane hits the ground hard and twists sickeningly to the left, popping open several overhead bins as the engines thunder deafeningly in reverse, trying to slow the tin rocket.

As the pilot brakes, the pull of inertia threatens to rip Lewis from his seat, and all of the baggage that fell from the overheads on impact now flies forward, violently striking the terrified flight attendant who has belted herself to the forward jump seat.

The runway is rougher than it looked, and the pilot has trouble keeping the plane straight. The plane shakes and vibrates desperately as the pilot tries to slow its reckless speed. Lewis lifts his head to see what he can. Alongside the black asphalt runway the dirt is blood red. Suddenly there is a terrific noise, and then, as a reward for his temerous curiosity, Lewis is slammed into the seat in front of him like a rag doll. There are a few shouts, barely audible above the incredible sound of the front landing gear failing. The plane lurches violently forward, eliciting more screams from the passengers, then comes to rest, and it is awesomely quiet except for the sound of bottles rolling through broken glass in the aisles.

The turbines wind down, as they would upon a normal arrival. The cabin is in chaos, debris scattered everywhere. As if caught between heartbeats, no one moves, expecting another blow. Then a child crying somewhere in the back restarts the order of things. Suddenly in many languages the passengers shout and yell and thank god. The flight attendant at the bulkhead struggles stiffly to get out of her seat. Around her battered legs is the scattered garbage of the carry-ons, an odd collection of bottles of wine and liquor from Duty Free, cameras, cards, hairbrushes, lipstick and broken vials of perfume.

"Someone's hurt here! For god's sake, someone is hurt," comes a shout from the back. Lewis watches the hurt flight attendant approach the exit. Her eyes are red from crying, and already her cheek is swelling where she was hit. She looks out the window, with an arm stretched out to keep people away, something she has learned in a drill, then she rapidly clears the door. Warm air pours into the cabin, condensing and creating a lush steam. There is the fantastically loud hiss of the emergency evacuation slide inflating.

"Release your seat belts and get out!"

All around Lewis, passengers are already unbuckling. "Sortez par la sortie en avant. Vite!" The flight attendants yell at passengers to leave their things and get out. "Sortez maintenant! Vite vite vite!"

Lewis jumps onto the slide behind the businessman. The drop down the slick yellow slide is quick and he's glad to have someone to catch his hand as he lands. A young man with wide eyes waves them to a gathering place just past the wing tip. His urgency has everyone running, but Lewis lets the others hurry by. Now that his feet are on the ground, the emergency seems over to him. The tropical air feels good.

He turns when he reaches the group and looks back at the fallen jet. A faint blue haze of smoke hovers over the main wheels. The nose is dipped from the partially collapsed front landing gear. Otherwise the airplane doesn't appear significantly damaged; at least, there is no obvious fuel spill. There are no buildings along the runway, no airport. Some of the grass growing out of the cracks in the tarmac is quite tall. The runway obviously hasn't been used for a long time. There might be a road entering at the far end; otherwise on all sides the forest looms, cut back to a perfect sharp border, yielding just enough room for the pavement and a fifty-yard swath on each side, which has grown back almost chest deep in some places.

One of the flight attendants is kneeling by a big red-haired Dutch man who has injured his head. She drops strips of bloodied gauze on the pavement. His eyes are red, and his black suit is wrinkled, his face wet with tears. A bright green and blue bird sails over the passengers' heads and then settles on the tip of the airplane's wing and flaps its own as if gloating.

The flight crew walk slowly away from their wrecked airship; they seem both elated to have made the landing and shaken up by it. The captain checks to see that the flight attendant has what she needs to help the injured man, and then he approaches the group of more than two hundred passengers. He looks over the faces of those closest to him. They are waiting to hear when they can get back on the plane and how soon they will be taking off again. He has to shout to deliver his message, first in French, then in English. "The situation in the cockpit, an uncontained fire, was very serious, and it was critical that we get the aircraft on the ground immediately, wherever possible. We have landed in central Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Unfortunately, this runway is not intended for an aircraft of this size. To attempt a takeoff is impossible. Air traffic control was advised of our position and circumstances. It is important that everyone stay in the immediate vicinity of the aircraft. I'll give an update in about a half hour when we have more information."

The Congo. Lewis almost says the word aloud. For him it's not a name that conjures images of an actual country, a real place, more of an ominous river coiled in a hostile jungle--dark tales of misadventure whispered by a seaman who counts himself lucky to have survived. Lewis looks up at the sky, but the clouds have closed it off. They are so low now that they seem to be dragging in the tops of the highest trees. That's something to be thankful for, he thinks, that the clouds held off, long enough for them to find the field and make this landing. Around him many of the passengers have sat down on the pavement, and they are looking up, too, as if trying to decide whether this could be called unfair.

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First Chapter

Through the thick glass of this porthole, the night sea is dim and indistinct, barely defining a line between sky and water. Thirty thousand feet beneath a pillow of air, the ocean's blackness swallows even the indurate light of a full moon, and it is only the clouds lingering ten thousand feet below him that offer some faint sense of promise or hope. Beyond that there is a void that extends under the silver clouds to some unfathomable infinity, like something missing, or everything missing—the way Lewis has always imagined blindness.

Most of the other passengers are sleeping, mouths agape like escape hatches flung open. The businessman across the aisle from him looks like a child this way, a desperate boy who hopes no one will see through the disguise and perceive his pillowy kindness. Lewis's eyes meet those of the only other passenger who is awake, an African man, a Muslim. He wears a white djellaba, which in the dim cabin is so brightly lit by his reading light that it gives him an ethereal look. Beyond him a flight attendant sits calmly in the jump seat, flipping through a French edition of Vogue, her stiffly made-up face lit by the warm light bouncing off the magazine.

Lewis turns back to his window. That must be Africa, slipping by beneath the clouds. He presses his face against the cool glass, which is delicately traced with frost on the outside, trying to see some detail, even to confirm that what he sees is land, but there is only an unappeasable darkness and merely his imagination to illuminate it. It seems to approach silently and steadily like sleep. He watches until the faint glimmer of the ocean is consumed by it completely and they have crossed over. His gut stirs with unease. There is an unrealness to his relationship with this place, so thoroughly insulated is he by the dull roar of the turbines, the soft bumps of turbulence in the jet stream. There is also something vaguely threatening.

Who goes to Africa? he thinks. A few camera-laden vacationers on "safari," transported by four-wheel-drive buses, still a bit aloft, or some dusty, sweaty businessmen, miners or arms salesman, the kind of men you never see in the suburbs of America, mercenaries in suits and ties, and doctors, missionaries and Peace Corp volunteers. Lewis never expected to go anywhere near Africa. Not that he avoided it, either; he just never thought of it. Not once. He changed planes in Paris for the ten-hour flight to Johannesburg without a thought of where he was going. It could have been anywhere. Selling Coca-Cola to foreign markets takes him all over the world. One of the local distributors will meet him at the gate, help him with his bags and take him to an office not that different from what he has seen in Australia or New Zealand. At first he won't even be able to distinguish the accent. They will treat him, as he is accustomed, like a client. There will be a basket of biscuits and South African wine and a hat and sunblock waiting in his hotel room.

Somehow he must have fallen asleep with his head against the window. He looks up for a flight attendant—perhaps some water. At first he cannot find her. She is no longer reading. Then he notices the African man staring with an odd intensity at the galley, where she's talking on the interphone. Something in her stance, the way she looks at the floor, the tenseness of her body, seems a bit off. Lewis presses his face into his hands. There is in this unfirm place, this moment between consciousness and unconsciousness as his mind struggles to reassert command, such fertile ground for doubt. In his stomach he can feel the plane descending. He looks for his watch; it seems early, but it could be the time zone difference. His watch isn't set right.

Then two of the other flight attendants join the first. Lewis frowns. He can't shake the impression that something is not right with this scene. The first flight attendant takes the phone away from her mouth and says something to the other two. They nod, listening intently. She gestures with some urgency, and they move off in a hurry. The African man leans out into the aisle, and with a calm hand touches the hem of the flight attendant's uniform.

"Qu'est-ce qui se passe?"

She leans down to explain, but her voice is too soft to make out. From across the cabin she catches Lewis's eyes on her as she finishes, and it's easy to see that whatever she just said was a lie. As if to prove it, the left wing of the jet dips sharply as the plane makes an abrupt course change, and the lights come on suddenly as the cabin blinks awake.

"Mesdames et messieurs, votre attention s'il vous plaît."

The tone of the captain's message is disturbing, and it's maddening to have to listen to it first in French. Lewis makes out the words la fumée, "smoke."

"What the hell is going on?"

"English, please!"

Two flight attendants race by Lewis with a service cart rattling with loose items. They aren't taking time to gather anything from the passengers, and they are yelling as they go.

"Seat belts. Tray tables and seat backs up."

"Ladies and gentlemen. May we have your attention . . ." That much he got already, but it is oddly reassuring. He senses that in the worst kind of emergency, the kind you don't survive, there would be no time for formalities, and even though the plane is descending, it still feels normal, still under control. He can feel the subtle pressure building in his ears. The passengers are all looking up at the speakers above their heads as if to hear better.

"We are experiencing smoke in the cockpit. To ensure your safety, we must land immediately at the nearest possible airport. Flight attendants are preparing for a possible emergency landing and evacuation. Please pay close attention to all flight attendant instructions and demonstrations."

"Please take your safety cards out. Look at the brace position." The flight attendant closest to Lewis holds up her card. The passengers take them out like hymnals at church. "Lean forward and hold your ankles," she says, and then she nearly falls as the nose of the plane suddenly drops and the engines rapidly power down to an idle. There are screams throughout the cabin. The plane is falling like a rollercoaster dropping at a carnival. All around him he sees passengers grabbing their armrests. Lewis quickly tightens his belt and reaches for his safety card. The flight attendant has regained her balance, and she is leaning forward with her feet wide apart to compensate for the steep angle of the descent. She's doing her best to remain calm and demonstrate how the passengers are expected to brace for landing, but she is close enough to Lewis that he can see the fear in her eyes.

"Lean forward and hold your ankles. If that is not possible, cross your hands and place them on the seat back in front of you. Lean forward and place your head on the back of your hands. Flight attendants, check brace position." It comes rapidly, first in French and then in English, but it is hard to hear over the terrific noise of the air rushing outside the plane. They are descending at six thousand feet per minute.

"Christ." Lewis drops his card, leans forward and grabs his ankles for the rehearsal. He looks across the aisle—hands on ankles everywhere. He still has that sick feeling in his stomach. If they hit the ground going this fast, this drill will amount to nothing.

"Please sit up. Check the security of your area. Any loose or sharp objects should be removed and placed in a safe place such as a seat pocket. Flight attendants brief helpers at exits. Appel aux hôtesses. Préparez la cabine pour l'atterrissage."

The last part of the announcement is clipped by a sudden noise and vibration over the wing. The air brakes have been deployed and now the whole frame is shaking. Lewis catches a brief glimpse of the cockpit as the lead flight attendant opens the door. There is no obvious fire, but the gray-white smoke in the cockpit is dense. The pilots are wearing heavy oxygen masks and smoke goggles. They are working frantically with checklists, scanning gauges and switches. He can see them shouting to try to communicate.

"Where?" someone yells. "Where are we landing?"

"Africa. Somewhere."

Lewis looks outside, where dawn has begun to unravel the night's grip on the continent below. What was an indistinct mass is now a deeply textured green. Land? Of course, it looks soft, a verdant carpet of luxurious tropical plant life. It is easy to imagine lying down there in a soft whisper of ferns and yellow birds, but clearly this is a forest below them, a canopy of trees, great trunks of hardwood. At ten thousand feet they are already in the forest's embrace. The patches of white cloud that race by almost have a sound to them, like showers of hailstones. A road appears, like a bright reddish-brown rip in the green fabric, and then passes behind them. At four thousand feet the plane passes over the great curve of a brown river that flashes faintly in the dawn, and then another red gash.

The engines spool up and down now as the pilots struggle with the difficult approach, making rapid corrections. A hint of the sharp smoke invades the cabin. It smells toxic—burning rubber or plastic.

"Please do not be alarmed." Alarmed. It's a strange word in the Frenchman's mouth. It sounds as if it is being eaten whole. "We will be landing soon. Flight attendants will signal when it's time to assume the brace position by shouting, 'Brace!' Remain in the brace position until the airplane has completely stopped."

The landing gear rumbles into position, and the plane slows further. Their attitude is less nose down, and the terrific noise of the air rushing outside has calmed down. At about three hundred feet a flight attendant comes over the intercom.

"Brace! Courage! Baissez la tête! Brace!"

Lewis watches as the cabin obeys, everyone bent over like puppets with their strings cut. The businessman bends over his knees. His face is slack with fear, and he is praying. The words fall from his mouth with the faint smell of alcohol. His toiletries are gripped tightly in his hands, as if for some final ablutions. The African man's hands look powerful and strong on the seat in front of him. The flight attendant closest to Lewis notices him still sitting up.

"Brace!" she shouts. He leans forward, but he cannot take his eyes away from the window. The trees seem smaller than he thought, but he realizes that his sense of scale is off, that they must rise a hundred feet or more. They pass a road and a fence at about the time they come level with the treetops.

"Brace! Baissez la tête! Heads down!"

"Not until I see pavement," Lewis thinks aloud, as the blur of trees reaches up under the belly of the airplane as if trying to grab them, pull them down. Then the pavement is there, cracked and overgrown with weeds. Lewis puts his head down.

He closes his eyes, anticipating the impact like a child who left his body in a dream or nightmare and is now falling back at the realization that he cannot fly. He breathes in deeply and holds it. The plane hits the ground hard and twists sickeningly to the left, popping open several overhead bins as the engines thunder deafeningly in reverse, trying to slow the tin rocket.

As the pilot brakes, the pull of inertia threatens to rip Lewis from his seat, and all of the baggage that fell from the overheads on impact now flies forward, violently striking the terrified flight attendant who has belted herself to the forward jump seat.

The runway is rougher than it looked, and the pilot has trouble keeping the plane straight. The plane shakes and vibrates desperately as the pilot tries to slow its reckless speed. Lewis lifts his head to see what he can. Alongside the black asphalt runway the dirt is blood red. Suddenly there is a terrific noise, and then, as a reward for his temerous curiosity, Lewis is slammed into the seat in front of him like a rag doll. There are a few shouts, barely audible above the incredible sound of the front landing gear failing. The plane lurches violently forward, eliciting more screams from the passengers, then comes to rest, and it is awesomely quiet except for the sound of bottles rolling through broken glass in the aisles.

The turbines wind down, as they would upon a normal arrival. The cabin is in chaos, debris scattered everywhere. As if caught between heartbeats, no one moves, expecting another blow. Then a child crying somewhere in the back restarts the order of things. Suddenly in many languages the passengers shout and yell and thank god. The flight attendant at the bulkhead struggles stiffly to get out of her seat. Around her battered legs is the scattered garbage of the carry-ons, an odd collection of bottles of wine and liquor from Duty Free, cameras, cards, hairbrushes, lipstick and broken vials of perfume.

"Someone's hurt here! For god's sake, someone is hurt," comes a shout from the back.

Lewis watches the hurt flight attendant approach the exit. Her eyes are red from crying, and already her cheek is swelling where she was hit. She looks out the window, with an arm stretched out to keep people away, something she has learned in a drill, then she rapidly clears the door. Warm air pours into the cabin, condensing and creating a lush steam. There is the fantastically loud hiss of the emergency evacuation slide inflating.

"Release your seat belts and get out!"

All around Lewis, passengers are already unbuckling. "Sortez par la sortie en avant. Vite!" The flight attendants yell at passengers to leave their things and get out. "Sortez maintenant! Vite vite vite!"

Lewis jumps onto the slide behind the businessman. The drop down the slick yellow slide is quick and he's glad to have someone to catch his hand as he lands. A young man with wide eyes waves them to a gathering place just past the wing tip. His urgency has everyone running, but Lewis lets the others hurry by. Now that his feet are on the ground, the emergency seems over to him. The tropical air feels good.

He turns when he reaches the group and looks back at the fallen jet. A faint blue haze of smoke hovers over the main wheels. The nose is dipped from the partially collapsed front landing gear. Otherwise the airplane doesn't appear significantly damaged; at least, there is no obvious fuel spill. There are no buildings along the runway, no airport. Some of the grass growing out of the cracks in the tarmac is quite tall. The runway obviously hasn't been used for a long time. There might be a road entering at the far end; otherwise on all sides the forest looms, cut back to a perfect sharp border, yielding just enough room for the pavement and a fifty-yard swath on each side, which has grown back almost chest deep in some places.

One of the flight attendants is kneeling by a big red-haired Dutch man who has injured his head. She drops strips of bloodied gauze on the pavement. His eyes are red, and his black suit is wrinkled, his face wet with tears. A bright green and blue bird sails over the passengers' heads and then settles on the tip of the airplane's wing and flaps its own as if gloating.

The flight crew walk slowly away from their wrecked airship; they seem both elated to have made the landing and shaken up by it. The captain checks to see that the flight attendant has what she needs to help the injured man, and then he approaches the group of more than two hundred passengers. He looks over the faces of those closest to him. They are waiting to hear when they can get back on the plane and how soon they will be taking off again. He has to shout to deliver his message, first in French, then in English.

"The situation in the cockpit, an uncontained fire, was very serious, and it was critical that we get the aircraft on the ground immediately, wherever possible. We have landed in central Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Unfortunately, this runway is not intended for an aircraft of this size. To attempt a takeoff is impossible. Air traffic control was advised of our position and circumstances. It is important that everyone stay in the immediate vicinity of the aircraft. I'll give an update in about a half hour when we have more information."

The Congo. Lewis almost says the word aloud. For him it's not a name that conjures images of an actual country, a real place, more of an ominous river coiled in a hostile jungle—dark tales of misadventure whispered by a seaman who counts himself lucky to have survived. Lewis looks up at the sky, but the clouds have closed it off. They are so low now that they seem to be dragging in the tops of the highest trees. That's something to be thankful for, he thinks, that the clouds held off, long enough for them to find the field and make this landing. Around him many of the passengers have sat down on the pavement, and they are looking up, too, as if trying to decide whether this could be called unfair.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

ABOUT THIS GUIDE

The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for discussion for Marcus Stevens's The Curve of the World. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Many fine books from Washington Square Press feature Readers Club Guides. For a complete listing, or to read the Guides online, visithttp://www.BookClubReader.com

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1) In a sense, there are really four main characters in this novel: Lewis, Helen, Shane, and Africa. Talk about the techniques the author uses to actually bring Africa to life as a tangible, multidimensional character within this novel.

2) How does the Africa of this story compare with concepts of Africa that you may have had going into the book? Is this the "heart of darkness" that has been romanticized in much literature and film of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, or is this a new Africa?

3) How does the idea of time differ in Africa and the Western world according to this novel? Lewis loses track of time in his stretch in the jungle, while Helen learns quickly that the Western obsession with schedules and on-time departures and arrivals is nowhere to be found in Africa. What, on a larger scale, is time representative of? What does it mean for characters when they lose track of it or when they feel they are wasting it?

4) Talk about how Western consumerism is seamlessly incorporated into the African landscape. What is the significance of the fact that most of the children wear Western-style T-shirts? Why do you think theauthor choose to make Lewis a representative for Coke, one of the largest and most powerful American companies, a product that many countries openly boycott in a show of support for their own culture?

5) At one point in a conversation with Helen and Ian, Malik explains his view of the white man's evu, or source of power: "It is the way that the 'big man,' the man in power, constructs the world. Like you said, the man who names it....And it's all the symbols, too: a logo, a fetish, talisman, spell, slogan." Focusing on scenes like this one, discuss how symbols and logos are afforded an almost magical place in this novel. How and why do they come to represent all of Western civilization? Is it the fault of Western civilization that it can be reduced to such trifling representations—a Pepsi logo, a Mickey Mouse face?

6) Similarly, look at the talismans and symbols of African origin that the characters seem to turn to in the course of their adventures; Lewis especially seems to gain fear and respect of them. In what ways do these symbols have greater meaning in the context of the novel? What makes an object meaningful? What do you make of the witches and sorcerers we see through the story? Are they, as Helen believes, fakes? Or do you think there is something more to them?

7) What role does belief play in this novel? Do the main characters maintain strong beliefs, of either a religious or personal nature? What might those beliefs be? Does their sense of faith—in themselves, in humankind, or in ideas of a higher power—guide them in their journey? Do any of the characters gain a new sense of faith by the end of the story?

8) How does Lewis's relationship with Kofi, a young boy that cannot understand his language, mirror his relationship with his son, a young boy who cannot see him? In what ways does overcoming the tangible communication barrier with Kofi help Lewis get beyond the mental barriers he has constructed with Shane? Look at the scene where Lewis and Kofi chase off the leopard; how might this scene be representative of how Kofi helps Lewis to confront his worst fears? How does Lewis come to understand that using your eyes is not always the best way to negotiate a situation?

9) Why is it that Helen seems to be inherently able to communicate with Shane and accept his blindness? Is there something in motherhood that allows her to do this with seemingly little effort, while Lewis struggles with it? Lewis is described as the kind of man who "never looked at the sheer face on a cliff and thought he should climb it, confront his fears, overcome them." Does this moment of character insight shed any light on why Lewis cannot fully be at peace with his son's handicap? Helen probably would climb that cliff—in fact, she is in many ways the exact opposite of the kind of person this quote describes. Is it her bravery that sets her apart from Lewis?

10) As Lewis struggles in the jungle, he thinks to himself, "The world will have its way with you...and if you let it, it will destroy you and remake you into something more willing to fight for itself." In what ways, at least for Lewis, do the lines between "man" and "animal" blur in Africa? Do you see any similarities to what Lewis witnesses among the apes in the wild, to what he experiences in the village with Kofi and his grandmother when it is attacked, for instance? In what ways do the people of Africa, who are not so distanced by the amenities of the Western world, seem to have a sense of nature that is neither romanticized nor compartmentalized?

11) There is overwhelming sense of cruelty in this novel, but there is also selfless sacrifice and love that transcends suffering. By the end of the story, how does Lewis come to terms with all he has experienced? What do you think his final view of Africa is? Has he learned wisely from his trails and tribulations there? In what ways is he a changed man?

12) Do you think it is ever possible to really "see" Africa through a foreigner's eyes? Will there always be, inherent in the white man's point of view, judgments and misrepresentations in the way he experiences and subsequently presents this world to the reader?

Copyright © 2002 by Marcus Stevens

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Interviews & Essays

Exclusive Author Essay
The first time I walked into the rainforest in Africa, breathed in its thick, stifling air and tried to adjust my eyes to its dim light, I knew immediately that if I was alone and didn't have a clearly defined trail to follow, I would be lost within a few hundred yards. Certainly if I ventured too far, I could be in very serious trouble. Maintaining a straight line would be impossible even with a compass, and without one, how long would anyone be able to maintain a reliable sense of direction? The dense, chaotic tangle of unfamiliar plants and towering hardwood trees was bewildering. I spent just a couple of hours lost in a snowstorm in the mountains of Montana once, and I remember the panic that seized me when I crossed my own tracks and realized that I had walked in a circle. In the rainforest you wouldn't even know you were recrossing your tracks; the thick bed of detritus on the forest floor would leave little evidence to record your passing.

Our technological culture protects us from getting lost a thousand ways. We have satellites to guide us, GPS systems; we have compasses and maps; we train pilots and we can afford to hire guides. Most just don't go anywhere near a situation that might open them up to the possibility. But the idea of being lost has always fascinated me, even before I got a little closer to the reality of it than I would like to repeat. We take an awareness of where we are as one of the most fundamental facts. This is clearly much more than a matter of simply knowing the left and right turns that will get us from home to the grocery store. It's the beginning of how we order our world. To be deprived of that basic orientation would shake one to the core.

Into this morass, I hurled my protagonist, Lewis. As he wandered in that jungle, I hoped to test the things he took for granted: his inability to bridge the barriers of his son's handicap, his foundering relationship with his wife, and the habits and presumptions that had come to cripple all of them. It seemed to me that becoming utterly lost would force an evaluation of the most basic decisions of Lewis's life.

We live in a culture that takes global travel for granted, but crossing the Pacific or the Atlantic, or the length of an entire continent like Africa, is something that still holds me in awe. I look out the window at the vastness of the unknown below me, and I know I am not the only one wondering how sustainable this technological bubble we have made for ourselves can be. For most of us, rarely or never is that question put to the test.

My stepfather was the victim of a hijacking in 1981 in Honduras. He had been on his way to Paris, but the flight never left. After five days on the sweltering airplane, negotiations broke down. The hijackers took dynamite to the back of the plane to discuss a final offer. He decided that the time had come to get the hell out of there. He opened the door, jumped and ran. Gunfire was exchanged between the hijackers and the Honduran Army, but he made it to the terminal, as did the rest of the passengers, and the ordeal ended.

What if the only place he'd had to run to was the rainforest of Central Africa? (Marcus Stevens)

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

ABOUT THIS GUIDE

The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for discussion for Marcus Stevens's The Curve of the World. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Many fine books from Washington Square Press feature Readers Club Guides. For a complete listing, or to read the Guides online, visit http://www.BookClubReader.com

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1) In a sense, there are really four main characters in this novel: Lewis, Helen, Shane, and Africa. Talk about the techniques the author uses to actually bring Africa to life as a tangible, multidimensional character within this novel.

2) How does the Africa of this story compare with concepts of Africa that you may have had going into the book? Is this the "heart of darkness" that has been romanticized in much literature and film of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, or is this a new Africa?

3) How does the idea of time differ in Africa and the Western world according to this novel? Lewis loses track of time in his stretch in the jungle, while Helen learns quickly that the Western obsession with schedules and on-time departures and arrivals is nowhere to be found in Africa. What, on a larger scale, is time representative of? What does it mean for characters when they lose track of it or when they feel they are wasting it?

4) Talk about how Western consumerism is seamlessly incorporated into the African landscape. What is the significance of the fact that most of the children wear Western-style T-shirts? Why do you think the author choose to make Lewis a representative for Coke, one of the largest and most powerful American companies, a product that many countries openly boycott in a show of support for their own culture?

5) At one point in a conversation with Helen and Ian, Malik explains his view of the white man's evu, or source of power: "It is the way that the 'big man,' the man in power, constructs the world. Like you said, the man who names it....And it's all the symbols, too: a logo, a fetish, talisman, spell, slogan." Focusing on scenes like this one, discuss how symbols and logos are afforded an almost magical place in this novel. How and why do they come to represent all of Western civilization? Is it the fault of Western civilization that it can be reduced to such trifling representations — a Pepsi logo, a Mickey Mouse face?

6) Similarly, look at the talismans and symbols of African origin that the characters seem to turn to in the course of their adventures; Lewis especially seems to gain fear and respect of them. In what ways do these symbols have greater meaning in the context of the novel? What makes an object meaningful? What do you make of the witches and sorcerers we see through the story? Are they, as Helen believes, fakes? Or do you think there is something more to them?

7) What role does belief play in this novel? Do the main characters maintain strong beliefs, of either a religious or personal nature? What might those beliefs be? Does their sense of faith — in themselves, in humankind, or in ideas of a higher power — guide them in their journey? Do any of the characters gain a new sense of faith by the end of the story?

8) How does Lewis's relationship with Kofi, a young boy that cannot understand his language, mirror his relationship with his son, a young boy who cannot see him? In what ways does overcoming the tangible communication barrier with Kofi help Lewis get beyond the mental barriers he has constructed with Shane? Look at the scene where Lewis and Kofi chase off the leopard; how might this scene be representative of how Kofi helps Lewis to confront his worst fears? How does Lewis come to understand that using your eyes is not always the best way to negotiate a situation?

9) Why is it that Helen seems to be inherently able to communicate with Shane and accept his blindness? Is there something in motherhood that allows her to do this with seemingly little effort, while Lewis struggles with it? Lewis is described as the kind of man who "never looked at the sheer face on a cliff and thought he should climb it, confront his fears, overcome them." Does this moment of character insight shed any light on why Lewis cannot fully be at peace with his son's handicap? Helen probably would climb that cliff — in fact, she is in many ways the exact opposite of the kind of person this quote describes. Is it her bravery that sets her apart from Lewis?

10) As Lewis struggles in the jungle, he thinks to himself, "The world will have its way with you...and if you let it, it will destroy you and remake you into something more willing to fight for itself." In what ways, at least for Lewis, do the lines between "man" and "animal" blur in Africa? Do you see any similarities to what Lewis witnesses among the apes in the wild, to what he experiences in the village with Kofi and his grandmother when it is attacked, for instance? In what ways do the people of Africa, who are not so distanced by the amenities of the Western world, seem to have a sense of nature that is neither romanticized nor compartmentalized?

11) There is overwhelming sense of cruelty in this novel, but there is also selfless sacrifice and love that transcends suffering. By the end of the story, how does Lewis come to terms with all he has experienced? What do you think his final view of Africa is? Has he learned wisely from his trails and tribulations there? In what ways is he a changed man?

12) Do you think it is ever possible to really "see" Africa through a foreigner's eyes? Will there always be, inherent in the white man's point of view, judgments and misrepresentations in the way he experiences and subsequently presents this world to the reader?

Copyright © 2002 by Marcus Stevens

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2002

    So Much Promise, So Little Delivery

    Reading a blurb about this book, it sounded like a wonderful adventure story all about the wilds of the Congo. And the opening chapter was really fabulous. Unfortunately, the rest of the book was slow and sometimes tedious. I found myself skipping almost all of the parts from Helen's point of view completely. The author is a beautiful writer and there were many lyrical passages, but overall too slowly paced.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2002

    what's the point?

    okay, she went once to find her husband, but the return is not believable. the symbolism must be highly personal to the author, but meant very little to me. suspend belief? sure, but not indefinitely.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2002

    Adventure story of loss

    This is story of how relationships turn on loss, loyalty, and love. With the 'hero' Lewis making a run for it, and his wife making not one, but two rescue attempts with her BLIND son. All rather hard to believe at times, but a good page turner for the beach.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2002

    Can't Put Book Down

    Once you begin The Curve of the World, you will be glued to the center figures of Lewis, Helen and their blind son, Shane. The story moves along quickly, scaring us with the nightmares of the exotic jungle, apprehensive of the captors and the natives met along the way. Helen's decision to pursue the search for Lewis who has crashed in the jungle is against the advice and wishes of family, friends and officials. Shane is an inspiration to all of us with handicaps or merely inconveniences. An exciting first novel. Let's hope Marcus Stevens follows with another soon.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2002

    Rollercoaster ride

    I've only read the excerpt where the passenger plane comes down, but I'm already hooked. This will clearly be a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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