Challenge: TOB Favorites (coming this fall)
Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: eBook / Kindle-Amazon
What It’s About: Inspired by true events and real people, this story is told via edited memoirs of a Nobel Prize-winning doctor whose first ‘job’ out of Harvard Med was with an expedition to a previously undiscovered peoples living in the jungles of a tiny Micronesian island. What he discovers and how his life travels from there is one heck of an unsettling tale.
… by twelve incompetents (one juror, as I recall, was a tollbooth clerk, another a dog-washer),
These memoirs are written while he is in prison for sexually abusing one, or more, of his 43 children. He had on subsequent visits over many years, adopted all of these kids from the island community he originally encountered on that fateful trip. The one resulting in his being first to publish findings of physical longevity attributed to eating a previously unknown variety of turtle. Eventually, the island life is destroyed; the community in shambles, the turtle extinct and no fountain-of-youth elixir.
At night I dreamed of green, great floating blobs of it, morphing gently from one shade to the next, and in the mornings I woke feeling beaten and exhausted. During the day my thoughts returned to visions of deserts, of cities, of hard surfaces: of glass and concrete.
Thoughts: The last few paragraphs will kick you in the gut. You know it is coming, but the when and what and how is gobsmacking. Yet. Not? We were given all the clues, by the monster himself. I will only say that I found the guy a monster, an ogre, an egotistical misogynistic remorseless abhorrent individual.
So, the writing. She is successful at world-building, character-development, tone, pace, all that stuff. I really did almost give up because I just knew it was bleak but my curiosity won out.
Rating: Four slices of pie. Leech Pie
Owen and I were gathering a bucket of leeches that we planned to bake into a pie and then give to Ida, the part-time cook, a sour woman we both hated. My mother was dangling her feet in the stream.
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