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Shelter of Leaves: A Novel Paperback – August 9, 2016
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Shelter of Leaves by Lenore H. Gay is afast-paced and extremely detailed suspense novel about the realities ofterrorism and survival. Gay's characters all come across as everydaypeople who, like most, have a secret or two they keep to themselves. Her use of real cities that people will recognize also helps bring thisstory to life and give it the realistic qualities that will leavereaders wondering: "What if this really happened?"
--SAN FRANCISCO BOOK REVIEW
"Sabine awakens disoriented amid falling rubble and flashinglights. Although she manages to escape her crumbling Washington, D.C.,apartment, she quickly finds herself and her memory lost in a world at war. Againstthis backdrop, Gay reveals the chaos of Sabine's battle against both internaland external horrors, with mysteries multiplying page by page. ...danger is ever present in the threatof intruders; the ongoing, nameless war; and the return of Sabine's memories.Gay's fastpaced, thrilling debut novel is ideal for lovers of postapocalypticfiction and The Walking Dead."
"Shelter of Leaves is written with a confident hand. The book blends humanity, story and style into a seamless weave of shadow and light. Not just action, not just character work. Gay mines every great trick of storytelling for a fast, yet deep, tale of a world and people on the brink."
--DAVID L. ROBBINS, New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including War of the Rats
"The story of Sabine's evolving strengths and desire to be more than asurvivor carry the themes of reconstruction, recovery, and rebuildingthat make Shelter of Leaves so compelling."
--MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
About the Author
Lenore Gay is a Licensed Professional Counselor with master’s degrees in sociology and rehabilitation counseling. She has worked in agencies and psychiatric hospitals, and for ten years she maintained a private practice. The Virginia Center of the Creative Arts (VCCA) has awarded her two writing fellowships. Her poems and short stories have appeared in several journals. Her essay “Mistresses of Magic” was published in the anthology In Praise of Our Teachers (Beacon Press). Her story “The Hobo” won first place in Style Weekly’s annual fiction contest. She is a volunteer reader at Blackbird, An Online Journal for Literature & The Arts. Shelter of Leaves is her first book.
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Top Customer Reviews
Gay, a fresh, new talent on the literary scene creates a wonderful tension in her tone, point-of-view, setting and characterization. The reader is constantly engaged by the conflictual heroine, Sabine ; we see her struggle both externally and internally to survive both her traumatic past and present as she negotiates issues of trust, security and literal survival in a hostile world- there are " dragons to be slain ", and humanity to be preserved. The call of the return to family for safety and resolution propels the story forward. We meet Sabine's typical southern, older brother-a disappointment to Father and Mother's darling, who always seems to be around, doing nothing, and dragging trouble with him. Elaine, is a perfect study of the mother in realism where we can rest with empathy and familiarity. Finally, don't miss the ironic complexities of the many extended metaphors and symbols which color the setting and enhance our imaginations.
This is a good one ! Don't miss it.
Lenore Gay’s carefully crafted first novel displays knowledge of family dynamics acquired in long career as a psychotherapist and along her own well-lived journey. If I weren’t in her novel group, I would take the fact that the catastrophic bombings with which it opens are set in recent times to mean that the attacks on the United States are metaphor for the myriad of events that can traumatize families. But SHELTER OF LEAVES is a legitimate dystopian novel with a protagonist battered into passivity, gradually assuming agency, and finally finding her way to her family of origin. Sabine and her family begin their adventure already traumatized by addiction and its consequences. For me, their dynamics give this novel its strength. With the following caveats, I give it five stars: One-I’m rounding up, because this is a first novel and I like the subject. Two- I know Lenore and belong to her novel critique group. Our piecemeal group-think doesn’t add up to Max Perkins level editorial process, but despite our often-conflicting advice she has come up with an entertaining novel that kept me reading past my bedtime. Well done.
From the first chapter to the last, my curiosity remained piqued. The characters develop keenly as the journey proceeds and the multiple connected story lines intertwine unpredictably. This tale of trauma and tenacity details post-disaster nuances so sensibly, one would think the author had actually experienced such an occasion. Below the surface of the crisis and survival in this story, you find insight on personal discovery and growth.
Don't let my review, because it doesn't include a brief synopsis of the plot spoiling elements of surprise, leave you wondering if this isn't a reckoning of kickass suspense and intrigue. It certainly is.
Then, I read it again---something I very rarely do. I figured out that the nuances and subtleties were so nuanced and subtle that, like a fine pointillistic painting, or pixilated image, one had to draw on one’s inner focus to more clearly “see” the big picture, and each sub-element. Appearing at first read to be bit stripped down, I found that the deeper richness of Shelter of Leaves rises to the surface when given a little time, as with that second read. The book never did help me get to sleep, though.