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Three Weeks in December Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 353 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions; 1 Original edition (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781609450649
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609450649
  • ASIN: 1609450647
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Audrey Schulman does a beautiful job of balancing adventure, suspense and self-discovery."
(-Michele Ross, CNN)

"[A House Named Brazil is] Quirky and thoughtful... Schulman renders the strange beauties of a world that draws on resources scarcely known to us."
(-The New York Times)

"A genuine page-turner with literary content."
(-Boston Globe)

"Lyrical . . . Suspenseful . . . Schulman's heroine [in The Cage] is a true original transformed emotionally and physically by experiences marvelously imagined and compellingly described."
(-The Los Angeles Times)

"Bizarre yet intriguing . . . More than enough to keep readers turning pages. . . Schulman's language is lovely."
(-USA Today)

About the Author

Audrey Schulman is the author of three previous novels: Swimming With Jonah, The Cage and A House Named Brazil. Her work has been translated into eleven languages. Born in Montreal, Schulman now lives in Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Very well written, with a very realistic story line.
bossman
I started out with a sample of this book being sent to my Kindle after reading about it in the New York Times Book Review.
mgrace411
The pages flew by and I couldn't wait to get back to the book each time I put it down.
Bonnie Brody

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
Audrey Schulman has written a very literary page-turner with her new novel, Three Weeks in December. From page one I was drawn in and smitten. The pages flew by and I couldn't wait to get back to the book each time I put it down.

The book is written in two narratives, each one about one hundred years apart and taking place during the month of December. One narrative takes place in 1899 and the other in 2000. Both protagonists hail from Maine and end up in Africa.

The first protagonist is Jeremy who takes a job as an engineer for a railroad company in British East Africa, now known as Kenya. He is responsible for supervising several hundred men, mostly from India. They are building a railroad and as the book opens they are responsible for building a bridge that crosses the Tsavo River. Jeremy is an engineer with a good safety record who is more than happy to leave Maine and some personal `secrets' behind. These secrets become obvious as the book progresses. There are only two Caucasians on the project, Jeremy and Alan, the physician.

During Jeremy's tenure in Kenya, a lion is killing off his workers, along with their dying from malaria and other tropical diseases. During the first year in Africa, 30% of the people die from malaria. Jeremy wants to get the lion who is also responsible for deaths in villages. It seems that there are two lions working in tandem and they have developed a taste for human flesh. Jeremy is inspired by Otambe, a tribesman who is a great hunter and who speaks English. Jeremy seeks him out for advice and comraderie. Together they hunt the lions.

Max's narrative forms the other half of the book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
In this readable, exciting, and historically enlightening novel with two separate plots, Audrey Schulman accomplishes an incredible feat. She makes the individual plots totally compelling and uniquely character-driven as they shift back and forth in alternating chapters, even as they take place in two different time periods and settings - one, in East Africa in 1899, and one in Rwanda in 2000.

In the first plot, Jeremy, an almost terminally shy graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic, jumps at the chance to go to Kenya in 1899, after experiencing social embarrassment at home in Bangor, Maine. "This was the land where he would start afresh," he thinks. Charged with building a railroad from Mombasa to Kisumu, Jeremy is understandably daunted by the plan to build this "lunatic line" using seven hundred untrained African natives and imported workers from India, many of whom will die from attacks by wild beasts, and from tropical diseases, especially malaria, endemic to the Tsavo River. When two enormous lions, reportedly over nine feet long, begin to attack Jeremy's men, even as malaria is affecting up to twenty-five percent of the others, the atmosphere of the work camp reaches new lows. Jeremy must pair up with one of the local Africans to try to find and kill these two lions, who are so powerful that they have managed to kill two people, twenty miles apart, during the same evening.

In the second plot, Dr. Max Tombay, an ethnobotanist with Asperger's Syndrome, travels to Rwanda in 2000, hoping to discover a previously unknown vine which prevents strokes and heart attacks in mountain gorillas. This could be a life-saving discovery for humans, too, and pharmaceutical companies are anxious to develop it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jill I. Shtulman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
When one of the key protagonists of a book is a biracial American ethnobotonist who is surmounting the challenges of Aspergers, you know instantly that you're in the hands of an author who is unafraid of taking literary risks.

And so it is with Audrey Schulman's inspired, imaginative, and downright haunting new book, Three Weeks in December. Told in alternating perspectives, the book chronicles a three week period in two lives that are separated by a millennium: Jeremy, a young engineer who is charged with overseeing the construction of a railroad in East Africa in 1899, and Max, the female ethnobotonist, who travels to Rwanda's gorilla country searching for a potentially life-saving vine that can be used in the development of a pharmaceutical.

Both are self-defined misfits. Jeremy is "different" in a way that eventually becomes apparent; Max leverages the unique qualities of her Aspergers become an expert in plants. "Most people didn't understand; they consider plants as static as a bureau or a shoe," she thought. "When she looked at a tree, she saw not a stationary object, but a photo of a dancer in mid-motion, the gesture of its branches describing the battle for food or love."

Gradually, the arcs of the two distinct stories come together. As in Campbell's The Hero's Journey, both Jeremy and Max will need to surmount their inner challenges and their worst fears. For Jeremy, he must confront two killer lions who, starved and desperate, are mounting increasingly bold attacks on the camp. Max must confront equally desperate Kutus - a fictional group made up from the details of child soldiers, who are drug-addicted and ruthless in their need to survive.
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