31 Hours

Thoughts   31 Hours by Masha Hamilton, ARC Unbridled Books 2009, 229 pages

MOTIVATION for READING:    I understand that a Blog Talk Radio discussion will be this week?    Except I did not write down any info on the particulars anywhere I can find and now will have to search out whether or not this is true unless some kind person comments and lets me know (hint, hint).    Dawn at Too Fond of Books sent me this – THANKS!

WHAT’s it ABOUT:    This novel captured in a 31 hour time period in New York City follows various viewpoints of family drama and a terrorist act:   a mother intuiting that her son is in trouble, the girlfriend of the son who is worried about her sister, the sister who wants her parents to get back together, a homeless guy whose job is the subway, and the young man who is or will link them all together.     Powerfully intense and subtly wrought with emotion.    (If “subtly wrought” isn’t a contradiction.)

WHAT’s GOOD:    Tightly woven and intense.   Chilling.   I found myself feeling sympathetic and swept away with each story line.     I don’t know if I was convinced by the young man’s reasons for resorting to a terrorist act, but maybe that’s the point.

WHAT’s NOT so GOOD:    The fact that I picked this book to read NOW when a flight to Detroit was almost blown up caused me great discomfort.    I felt very depressed about the state of the world and the terror we must deal with.    And how getting through security at airports is just going to get more annoying;  I question *our* ability to stop crazy people and some of the steps we take to try.     I get upset at people who think we can or the government MUST stop them.     I get very confused and frustrated with the concept that we rely on the government to perfect our lives.  [On the other hand, I have a Libertarian friend who says the government should only be responsible for TWO things:  national defense and roads.]    This book is excellent at presenting a glimpse into terror and stirring up the ambiguities.

Dawn’s review at Too Fond of Books <–  she links to a video trailer!

S.Krishna’s review at S.Krishna’s Books

Masha Hamilton’s  website link for this book


14 thoughts on “31 Hours

  1. Thank you for your review of this one. I’ve been thinking about reading this one myself as it sounds like something I would really like. I read a book a couple (?) of years ago by Ward Just that dealt with a terrorist attack, including a look at what was going on in the mind of the suicide bomber. It was such an eye opener, even as fiction.

  2. It’s me – Julie/Booking Mama! I will be on Blog Talk Radio Tuesday evening at 7:00! I haven’t read the book for months, so you might have to carry the discussion! LOL! This book is definitely fresher in your mind than mine!

  3. i haven’t read this one, but i’ve had enough worry over terrorist attacks to last me a life time. this book might be a tad too tense for me.

    as for airport security, don’t even get me started. i flew last thanksgiving without realizing my driver’s license had expired the week before. airport security in nj and fla treated me like i was planning an all-out jihad.

    i was patted down, my bags were searched, and i had to go into special lines and explain (over and over) why i was flying with an expired license (oversight!). i had to throw away my bottled water and a few liquids in my carry-on, so please explain to me how a man who had been highlighted as a terrorist risk got on a flight with the makings of an explosive device. arghhh.

  4. The book sounds good but oh man, I definitely won’t be able to read this when I have a trip coming up. I have flown out of the Schipol airport many times and I have found it to be one where security is toughest so I was really surprised about what happened. I wish we’d never have to worry about things like that. sigh.

  5. Yikes! It does seem like you chose a scary time to read it! :/

    Airport security is something funny. I know my family in particular gets stopped all the time. We just have a more ethnic last name and dark hair so whenever any one of us goes through security, we get the full shabang. Eh! 🙂

  6. I just flew over the holidays and wasn’t keeping up with the news, so I was surprised when in addition to the usual indignities of being wanded because of my artificial knee, I had to show a woman down the front of my pants in the middle of an airport…I am so in the mood for this book.

  7. I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Care. Well, maybe “enjoyed” isn’t the right word, maybe “appreciated” is a better word.

    I imagine it was especially chilling to read it right after the attempt on the flight to Detroit. I read Anita Shreve’s THE PILOTS WIFE during a similar event (life and art colliding).

    Did you make the BTR show and the book club discussion?

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