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The Mercy of Thin Air: A Novel Paperback – June 20, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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 ...Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This might sound crazy but I have this book and hardback, Kindle, and the audio version and probably read it at least 13 times I can't explain why love it so much it's just my... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Epatton
Very good read although not what expected and a little sad too and yet not. Story of a young woman in 20s who falls in love and dies and spends the next seventy years in the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Lisa Duncan
A need to read for anyone. So well written, the ending took me my surprise-pleasantly which doesn't usually happenPublished 9 months ago by Gaywynn Gaude
I liked how the author maintains the mystery and changes the time line, but the language is not rich enough to be taken seriously as a literary work.Published 11 months ago by Olivia T.
Razi exists in a realm between memories of her former life in 1920's New Orleans and in the home of a young couple in the novel's present time. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Anne Morgenthal
I am still reading this, but I am enjoying the characters already; both those from the past, the present, and the "in between" - it jumps around a little between those... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Lorri Marie