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Posted March 8, 2013
Non-fiction is not my first choice in recreational reading, but the fact that Bill Hatcher is an acquaintance and lives in the same tiny town as I do, caused me to make an exception. I am very glad I did.
"The Marble Room" grabbed my attention from the start, as the story begins with a literal cliff-hanger. The questions Bill then raises about his Christian faith, were ones to which I could closely relate. After earning my BA in Anthropology in the `70s, I questioned my own religious beliefs.
The story follows Bill's life as a volunteer geography teacher for the United States Peace Corps in Africa, and his mountain-climbing adventures between semesters.
There are several subplots, so the story stays interesting and continually moves forward. I consider it a page-turner; I kept wanting to find out what happened next. There is adventure, mountaineering, history, travel, spirituality and even romance.
When Bill delved into spiritual themes and used geographical/mountain-climbing terms, he lost me on several occasions. I'm glad I bought the Kindle version of the book, because it made it easy to look up the definitions of words.
Much to my delight and surprise, "The Marble Room" reads like a novel. The author has an undeniable command of the written word. He is a talented storyteller. He taught me about Africa before I even realized I was learning the geography, politics and biology of the continent
I highly recommend this book for the adventurer; for anyone interested in African culture and history; and for anyone wanting to know about different religions.