From Publishers Weekly
A novel with a sawbuck of narrators could easily devolve into an unreadable mess, but in Reiken's (The Lost Legends of New Jersey
) able hands becomes a compelling tale in which one thread deftly connects 10 people. Beverly Rabinowitz, a middle-aged New Jersey doctor born in Poland during WWII, is taking a vacation trip to Florida with her cancer-stricken boyfriend, David. Beverly's musings while on her trip introduce four characters who will later become narrators: Jordan, David's son; Tim Birdsey, a tour guide/musician; Dee, the lead singer in Birdsey's band; and Jennifer, Beverly's oldest daughter. Characters continue to appear: FBI agent Leopold Sachs; Miriam, a childhood friend and an analyst; Vicki, a veterinarian; and Amnon Grossman, an Israeli soldier accused of murdering a Palestinian boy. The story moves dizzyingly through Florida, Utah, New Jersey, and Israel, among other places, and includes plot lines involving fugitives from justice, the Holocaust, and the Palestinian/Israeli conflicts—all illustrating that observations depend on the observer. An imaginative and exciting read. (May)
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*Starred Review* Reiken follows two acclaimed novels with an intricate, subtly fantastic, six-degrees-of-separation tale shaped by the beauty, continuity, and mystery of nature. During a 1984 trip to Florida, a widowed marine biologist swims among tolerant manatees with his pediatrician girlfriend, a Polish Jew who fled the Nazis. Their young-dude guide, Tim, of German descent, accompanies his bandmate Dee, whose wealthy Utah family is part of a violent cult, on a clandestine visit to see her brother, who is in a coma after surviving a motorcycle accident in Israel. On the plane, Tim sits next to a tall, reserved woman, who may be a 1960s radical turned fugitive from justice with mystical powers. A Massachusetts veterinarian suffering from severe allergies ends up in Israel, where a man working at a nature reserve . . .Well, it’s an entrancing and profoundly complicated tale Reiken tells as he slowly reveals the submerged connections among his intriguing characters while sustaining psychological sophistication, suspense, shrewd humor, and many-tiered compassion. Reiken’s novel of miraculous survival and discovery embraces the earth’s splendor, humankind’s capacity for good and evil, and the fact that we are all linked and that much is concealed within our oceanic psyches. --Donna Seaman