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Out of the Shadows Paperback – June 12, 2012
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
Kimberly Carlson's Out of the Shadows is a moving, lush, exotic novel that evokes the best psychological investigations of John Fowles, the moody atmosphere of Poe. The devastating atrocities of our dark century hang over every page of this brooding book as Jamie seeks to heal from a personal loss as bruising to her body as it is to her spirit. Readers will feel an intimate connection to the residents of the mysterious Fallow Springs mansion, and at times, as trapped there by pain as the heroine. This is a surprising tale of the families we must make for ourselves in a brutal world that often rips mother from child. --Tony D Souza, award-winning author of Whiteman, The Konkans, and Mule
Kimberly Carlson s novel is a dream, a smile , a hug , a kiss, a home , a story... She shows there is a life for every Darfuri woman. Thanks for writing it. --Halima Bashir, best-selling author of Tears of the Desert
Tragedy turns into triumph in Carlson s debut novel about a young woman who regains her self-confidence after multiple losses and years of dejection. Before readers meet 28-year-old Jamie Shire, she has already hit rock bottom. Jobless, she drinks away her days on her best friend s couch as she wallows in loneliness. Among Jamie s troubles: Her mother died when she was a child, the only man she ever loved wouldn t reciprocate, her unborn daughter died, and she continuously feels rejected by her father and brother. After a chance encounter with a wealthy woman at a coffee shop, Jamie accepts a live-in job researching philanthropic causes at Fallow Springs Estate. Reaching out to the house staff and eventually working with Darfur refugees afford Jamie some valuable context for her own pain; she s able to gain confidence as she learns to stop fearing rejection and start pursuing her dreams. Throughout the novel, the author skillfully creates mood. In the beginning, when Jamie borders on depression, her emotional touchiness and oversensitivity will create an uneasy feeling in readers. But as Jamie slowly regains confidence, readers will also feel increasingly optimistic. Alongside the main character s emotional struggle is the struggle faced by Darfur refugees, although this plotline doesn t advance too far; yet details from Jamie s trip to the refugee camp in Chad the types of beer served at the aid workers bar or a depiction of a young refugee sitting blank-faced and tied to a pole because he might run away effectively transport readers to faraway places. Jamie s story will interest readers, but, with a weak ending, the story leaves many unanswered questions. Who is Jamie s wealthy employer? Does Jamie s work in Chad help anyone but herself? And what of the conflict Jamie feels between herself and the refugees, between the haves and the have-nots? With so many minor questions left unanswered, Carlson s captivating novel proves to be more about the journey than the destination. --Kirkus Review
About the Author
After graduating Humboldt State University with a MA in English Composition and Literature, Kimberly Carlson taught composition and creative writing at Shasta College. She has been a delegate leader for Amnesty International and is a member of Genocide No More, Save Darfur. Kimberly lives in Redding, California with her husband and two children.
Top customer reviews
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The protagonist, Jamie, is far from perfect (in one memorable scene, she vomits while on a job interview!), yet in spite of the self-doubt and indecision which plague her as she sets out on her journey, she evidences an unswerving moral integrity that delivers her from the mire of personal tragedy and transforms her from victim into champion. It is this integrity that helps her negotiate the confusing and mysterious landscape of Fallow Springs and eventually enables her to respond to the misfortunes of others, whether they be the heartbreaking histories of her new-found friends in Fallow Springs or the catastrophic stories of the men, women, and children she meets in Darfur.
At times, Carlson's novel has a cinematographic quality, mirroring the perspective of the protagonist, whose passion for film borders on obsessive. One of the most delightful aspects of the novel is its straightforward references to some of the more familiar staples of the Gothic genre: hidden trap doors and tunnels, a mysterious and reclusive benefactor, and moonlit gardens. These tropes starkly contrast with the gritty realities of Jamie's life, and serve to underscore the mystifying nature of her psychological journey from tragedy to redemption. As Jamie is eventually able to view these elements in their proper perspective, she also gains perspective on the elements of her own life that have kept her in shadow as she emerges into the sunlight of a purposeful and committed life.
Although Jamie and the mysterious world of Fallow Springs are two of the most captivating aspects of "Out of the Shadows," the center of the novel is neither the protagonist nor the setting. It is, rather, the call to action that begins as a suggestion when Jamie first learns about the atrocities in Darfur, develops into a directive as she delves deeper into the tragic history of Sudan, then, as she realizes her own potential, crescendos into a mandate to learn more, educate others, and advocate for the victims of violence and oppression everywhere. This, perhaps, is the novel's greatest gift: by participating in Jamie's transformation from indecision to action, we, too, are transformed. This book is a must-read, but be forewarned: it is the kind of novel that no reader can emerge from unchanged.
Most recent customer reviews
The information and knowledge on Darfur was amazing.
I was rooting for Jamie through the whole thing.Read more