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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Book
The Mercy of Thin Air is a lovely book. It is the first book I've read cover to cover in a long time. The basis of the book is a ghost story but the real story is how people come to terms with a lost love. In most cases a love story ends with some sort of resolution or understanding but when one of the parties is dead there is no resolution... only a hole in the heart...
Published on October 17, 2005 by Bonnie Jo Davis

versus
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Wanted to Love This Book....
...But I didn't. The reviews were so good, and the premise of the book was so intriguing, I couldn't wait to read it. My primary criticism of the book was that it was choppy. I love books told with multiple narrators and different points of view. But because each "chapter" was was so short (usually just a few paragraphs), by the time the reader understands who's...
Published on December 8, 2005 by intanswer


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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Book, October 17, 2005
This review is from: The Mercy of Thin Air (Hardcover)
The Mercy of Thin Air is a lovely book. It is the first book I've read cover to cover in a long time. The basis of the book is a ghost story but the real story is how people come to terms with a lost love. In most cases a love story ends with some sort of resolution or understanding but when one of the parties is dead there is no resolution... only a hole in the heart that can never be filled.

A great deal of the story is set in New Orleans in the 20's and it features a gorgeous blond feminist Raziela Nolan. She dies accidentally after graduating from college and while in the throes of an unexpected love affair. Her boyfriend and her family and friends are devasted and the book talks about how the living and the dead cope with loss.

I highly recommend this novel. The story resonated with me and I could not put it down.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A catch in my throat, a slip in time and dimension.., February 10, 2006
This review is from: The Mercy of Thin Air (Hardcover)
Occasionally there is a book that I can't put down, yet don't want to end. THE MERCY OF THIN AIR was one such book. I sacrificed a night's sleep to keep turning the pages, unable to stop reading, not wanting to lose the magic of this haunting tale of love, loss, regret and release. A part of me lingered within the pages for days. An indefinable ache, a momentary welling of tears kept me hovering within the vapor of Ronlyn Domingue's moving first novel. As has been said by others, her voice is original, her images tangible, breathtaking, and the reader is left hungry for more.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Wanted to Love This Book...., December 8, 2005
This review is from: The Mercy of Thin Air (Hardcover)
...But I didn't. The reviews were so good, and the premise of the book was so intriguing, I couldn't wait to read it. My primary criticism of the book was that it was choppy. I love books told with multiple narrators and different points of view. But because each "chapter" was was so short (usually just a few paragraphs), by the time the reader understands who's talking and whether they are in the present or the past, it's time to move on to another character.

There were many enjoyable aspects though. The setting--New Orleans in the 20's, some memorable characaters--Razi and Etoile in particular. The writing was, at times, delicious, and the concept of being "between" was really thought provoking. There is a particularly memorable scene where Razi comes across a little girl who is "between" and helps guide her to a more legitimate death. Wow, what a scene.

I wanted to love this book the way I loved the Time Traveller's Wife, but I didn't.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Never-Dying Love Story, July 29, 2005
The book, The Mercy of Thin Air, was an excellent book. There are so many chick lit books about with light airy romances, it was good to read this book telling of a love that would never die.

The book had so many layers. The story of Razi, her death, and her neverending love for Andrew. Then there was the story of Amy and Scott - her "unforgettable" love who also died, her reconcilation of it to go on with Scott.

Then there were the other ghosts. The children who did not know they died, the old woman who was stung to death in the front yard of her plantation but who still waiting for the Yankees to come, and all the others.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You have books that friends recommend...., January 2, 2006
By 
L. Quido "quidrock" (Tampa, FL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Mercy of Thin Air (Hardcover)
and then every once in awhile, someone important in your life, who really focuses upon what you would like, tells you about a book they've loved. Such is "The Mercy of Thin Air".

And though detractors might say that first time novelist Ronlyn Domingue (who has published short stories) is simply building upon the idea first thought of by Alice Sebold in "The Lovely Bones". Perhaps she is, but Domingue adds a joyousness and rationale for the life thereafter, and those souls caught between heaven and earth as a choice they've made. Her protagonist is Raziela, a '20's flapper who is written to convey someone caught up in "women's issues" of the era. Issues we don't stop to think are issues. The suffragettes have won the vote...so what more is there? Well, consider the issue of a woman being allowed to seek out birth control. In her novel, Domingue sets these types of issues to the music and words of Raziela's love story. And in her descriptions of New Orleans, the Cresent City of the 20's, you'll fall in love with her.

Without revealing how she dies, Domingue catches us up on Raziela's after life, and her interesting cohabitation with young marrieds Scott and Amy, while she ponders what may have happened to Razi's paramour, Andrew, in the days, weeks and years subsequent to her death. The story cuts from past to present, now at Raziela's coming of age, now at the tableau she watches as the marriage of Scott and Amy undergoes a transformation -- part of which Razi causes, part of which she seeks to cure.

Interesting plot and character evolution notwithstanding, it is not the central force of Domingue's writing. I reserve that for her command and flow of words, and how her words convey the senses. In her quest for phrasing, she sometimes gets carried away ..."her eyelids slipped closed with the grace of butterfly wings".... but more often than not, she writes with the breathtaking heart of one who has not been stymied by words...

"Like those of us between, like memory, words are images without substance - fluid, malleable, fundamental.....I am a constellation... a configuration reduced to its essentials, spread far and wide like the atoms that once gave my body the illusion of density."

Domingue is not a one-hit wonder, she is a woman whose love for the language should stand the test of time. And you'll finish "The Mercy of Thin Air" in awe, as I was, by her skill at leaving you breathless.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific thriller, September 16, 2005
This review is from: The Mercy of Thin Air (Hardcover)
In late 1920s New Orleans, while at college Raziela "Razi" Nolan and Andrew O'Connell share a heated romance. In 1929 she slips at a poolside and dies. However, Razi who wanted to live forever finds herself at THE MERCY OF THIN AIR, a gray world in between the mortal plane and the afterlife. She can see back to her former home and over time learns she can slightly interfere with humans, but emotionally she was never able to watch what happened to her beloved Andrew after she died though she would constantly peek at others from their circle.

That is until seven decades on earth have passed. She decides to learn about Andrew, but is interested in Amy Richmond and Scott Duncan. This pair seems so in love yet so troubled. Their relationship appears to be in jeopardy at least from what Razi can perceive. However, even as she feels an obsession to intercede and insure this pair makes it together, Razi tries to figure out why them.

Razi is a tremendous protagonist looking back to life in the 1920s in New Orleans especially with her beloved Andrew, which enables readers to gain an interesting feel for the place and time. Her reflections on her life and on her post time existence in the thin air are well written and her amateur sleuth investigation from the other side is cleverly devised adding an aura of suspense. However, the tale belongs to the moral lesson of never take for granted loved ones or what the senses provide when one is alive.

Harriet Klausner
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, wonderful, timeless, powerful, and breathtaking love story with substance and feeling!, October 28, 2005
This review is from: The Mercy of Thin Air (Hardcover)
Amazing, wonderful, timeless, powerful, and breathtaking are just a small handful of words I might ascribe to Ronlyn's wonderful work if I were forced to use as few as possible, but they would be a pale tribute. She writes so well, the raw power, emotion, and beauty fairly leaps from the page and whirls through one's being much like someone "between" would through the rooms of a house. She manages to confine such power, feeling, and substance like someone long accustomed to the inherent limitations of being "between."

In the acknowledgments Ronlyn talks about physics and religion, her views, the research and love she poured into the project, a piece of her heart and soul. Her conscious mind knows of limitations, of doubt. Her unconscious mind, her soul, the bit of her that remembers other places, other times, and of time "between" guided her heart in the telling of Razi's tale. I have been "between" myself, and more than once, and I remember. Life, this life, this bit of flesh, of touch is a precious gift, Razi's tale should remind each of us of this.

Ronlyn's portrayal of women of the 20's and beyond, the struggles we each face in our own way, our own time at once does amazing justice to the wonderful creatures we all are, here, or between, and shows how much, and how little times have changed. We still fight an uphill battle against the amassed ignorance and arrogance of the male dominated society we live in, but there is always hope, and slow, gentle growth.

Her book in a single breath, shows each of us how far we've come, and how far we have yet to go. Through it all, our strength, beauty and spirit shines through.

Ronlyn has a real gift, a precious rare ability to transfer feelings, whole, real and powerful to the rigid, unforgiving medium of ink on paper, without losing any of the beauty. I was left crying real tears of relief, of happiness, sadness and so much more at the end of the book. "Chick lit" at it's finest this book will draw anyone of either gender into the ebb and flow of a broad array of characters, time and space and keep any reader intrigued to the very last sentence bringing each thread to a gripping conclusion that will bring tears to all but the coldest of hearts!

I consider Ronlyn's book a master piece of story telling and well worth the read at twice the price. The fact that this is also Ronlyn's first book makes it so much more precious! I eagerly await her next masterpiece!!!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars touch..., November 10, 2005
This review is from: The Mercy of Thin Air (Hardcover)
As far as rating a book. I guess I am not one to spend a lot of time deciding how many stars it should get. If it's good, it's just good. Mercy is a beautifully written book for easy fiction lovers as well as for readers that need a little more intellectual connection to a book. It's a wonderful first novel and I eagerly await Ronlyn's second book.

What I can say about it... Throughout the book, I kept thinking about why Razi's sense of touch or lack of was so important. At the same time realizing it was important for all those between but I think Razi had an even stronger tie to it (as you obviously get later with a specific scene) or at least a different connection. I think it was because the experiences of touch that she was having in the year before she dies are probably the most intense, fresh, exciting, unexpected,delirious, intoxicating forms of touch that one has in the first experience of intimacy. As a young person with your first "head-over-heels" love, is beautifully hard to describe. The feeling overwhelms you and takes your breath away. She didn't have the experience of being with someone for 50 years and seeing how the sensation of touch can change when it becomes so familiar and loses that spontaneity, that intense electricity in contrast to the settling love like that of Amy and Scott (though it isn't extremely old). A love that perhaps is just as strong but has lost its intensity. Maybe this isn't important but it was something that made me realize what the longing she had for her lost love was about, to understand the obsession and of her not moving on. beautiful.....

Get the book, you will enjoy it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying Read, October 26, 2006
Amy Richmond and Scott Duncan buy an antique bookcase, from the Washington's, for their home in Baton Rouge; along with it comes a little book on "Family Limitations" and the ghost of Raziela Nolan or Razi as she was known to her friends. Yes, I said ghost. And no, this isn't a trip into fantasy. This is Ronlyn Domingue's first novel and while it does have some fantastical ideas they are not the focus of this enjoyable read.

Razi is an extremely intelligent woman and like most ghosts she died with unfinished business. She doesn't let the limitations of death prevent her from narrating this story about life, death, love, loss, forgiveness and of course, secrets.

Razi comes from a time where, for a woman, "there is no higher aspiration than motherhood" and rules of society often outweigh rules of the heart. Razi on the other hand wanted and planned to go to medical school.

Even in the afterlife Razi is surrounded by rules: Go anywhere you want but don't stay with loved ones; visit your grave once and move on; and most importantly do not touch. Throughout her short life Razi broke many rules of etiquette. Apparently death imitates life... in life, Razi met regularly with a mentor and taught other women about the secrets of their bodies. After 70 years of being dead, all the other new sentients come to her for the secrets of being dead. As in life there comes a time when rules are meant to be broken.

A series of events and coincidences encourage Razi to seek out her long lost love, no matter what the consequences. His scent has haunted her for decades and she just has to know what happened to him after she died. But finding him is much harder than she thought. While she searches for clues to her lost love she haunts the home of Amy and Scott and becomes rather attached to them as they grow further apart by the wedges of their own secrets. Razi is compelled to involve herself into saving Amy and Scott's relationship whether they know it or not and whether they want it or not.

To tell their stories Razi flips back and forth between vignettes reflecting on her childhood in the 1920s and modern day life in Amy and Scott's home. She shares the nuances of the 1920s, her relationship with her parents and friends, her love for the affluent and intelligent Andrew O'Connell and of course, the tragic moment her life was changed forever. Sometimes I was confused by the timing of the flip flops. I would think it was in one time and it wasn't until a few paragraphs later I realized she was referring to another time which would occasionally slow down the momentum.

As for language it flows sweetly and smoothly except for one phrase that stuck with me. When talking about her Grams she coins the phrase, "That slaughters me", which sounds more like something I would say than a character of the 1920s or 30s. Despite this discretion Razi is an instantly likeable character and an intelligent example of a strong woman with no fear of life or death.

Overall, The Mercy of Thing Air is a carefully thought out novel. Every character and every nuance has meaning and it's delightfully fulfilling how the mysteries of life and death fall into place. Even before reaching the final few pages, I was satisfied with having read it. I highly recommend reading it. Written by M. E. Wood.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Mercy of a Wonderful First Novel, September 22, 2005
By 
Andrew Velez (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Mercy of Thin Air (Audio CD)
A friend recommended this book to me. I really had no idea what it was going to be like. Set in New Orleans and moving back and forth in time from the 1920s to present day, I quickly found myself pulled into the complex, yet quite understandable story. It's filled with many wonderful characters. Domingue has a sharp eye and a gift for conveying what people say in silences, actions and their expressions as well as in words. Without being one bit sappy, this is a deeply romantic story. There are many details and a definite sense of mystery makes the story even richer. It's all woven together so skillfully, that the book flows into a thoroughly satisfying ending, and one which like all really truthful stories has some bittersweet elements. I would never have thought anyone would write a convincing and engaging story that I would enjoy in which some of the leading characters are actually dead. I guess that's the kind of magic a skillful writer can make happen. By the time I was two-thirds of the way into the book I was already thinking, "I don't want this to end." In the right hands it would make a wonderful movie. I look forward to her next book.
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The Mercy of Thin Air: A Novel
The Mercy of Thin Air: A Novel by Ronlyn Domingue (Paperback - June 1, 2006)
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