5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant, moving and incredibly rewarding,
This review is from: The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo: A Novel (Hardcover)
"With this staggering debut novel, Orner has joined the first rank of American writers." When I first saw that assessment in the Boston Globe, my initial reaction was--well, to see for myself. So much critical praise turns out to be hyperbole these days.
But after reading the book, I know it's the stone truth. THE SECOND COMING OF MAVALA SHIKONGO delivers so much, so gracefully and brilliantly (and in an unforced, unpretentious manner), that I turned the last page and weighed the book in my hands, physically marvelling at how such a small volume could contain such an entrancing, fully-realized world. Orner's skill as an award-winnng short story writer clearly pays off here, although his style is so compressed, gracefully streamlined, it often reads like something closer to poetry (again, without the slightest pretense or sense of importance).
It does take a while to get the hang of MAVALA's unhurried, almost timeless pacing, where days pass like moments, where a rainshower and a lifetime of civil war seem to carry equal weight and drama. But boy, is it worth it. Comparisons to Nabokov are not unwarranted, but there's also a sensibility similar to Garcia Marquez at his best, where everything can seem both mythic and fully alive.
I emerged from this book fully committed to reading everything Peter Orner publishes in the future. I can't give a more heartfelt endorsement than that.