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Trilemma Hardcover – February 4, 2014
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"Trilemma is a bright spark of a book, crackling with style and passion. Jennifer Mortimer shows us--in deft, spirited prose--that even a life built on a legacy of grief and betrayal can become a triumph of heart and hope." -- Laura Benedict, author
“The publisher defines trilemma as “a difficult choice from three options.” More than a definition, debut novelist Jennifer Mortimer’s Trilemma is an astounding thriller that has zigzag plot twists rivaling the hairpin turns on The Road to Ngatirua.”
“Lin’s exploration of a New Zealand not nearly as egalitarian and post-racial as it initially seems, her professional struggles, and her attempts to overcome self-doubt are convincing and often fascinating.”
"Lin is a great character: gutsy and smart with a wonderfully cynical outlook, while still allowing us peeps of her vulnerability. The perfect thinking woman's book." -- Mandy Hager, award-winning author
"An utterly engaging tale, with a pitch perfect plot, jam packed with surprises. This book will bring Jennifer Mortimer front and center onto the thriller stage. Don't miss it." -- --Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author
"Trilemma is a wondrously paced and brilliantly conceived hybrid tale that offers the perfect blend of corporate intrigue and familial conflict. A rare combination indeed but one that Jennifer Mortimer juggles in expert fashion in crafting a tale that's equal parts Michael Crichton and Joseph Finder with just enough romance thrown into the mix. Mortimer's introduction to the American audience marks a spectacular debut from a writer we will be hearing far more from in the hopefully near future." -- --Jon Land, bestselling author of Strong Rain Falling
About the Author
Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Jennifer Mortimer holds degrees in English Literature, Philosophy, & Information Science. Choosing a career in Information Technology, she has worked in the UK, USA, Australia, and South America, as well as New Zealand, reaching the level of Chief Information Officer. She is now a project manager for Weta Digital in Wellington--the people behind the special effects for The Hobbit, Avatar, & Ironman. Jennifer and her husband & two daughters live in Wellington, NZ.
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Top customer reviews
If anything it speaks to that band of young women floating around the world chasing IT jobs, struggling to cope with glass ceilings clouded by various, culturally imposed, thicknesses, opacities and heights. Some of us have gotten older doing this, so I see a lot of myself in this book in that respect.
Anyone who has spent time in ‘stunningly beautiful’ New Zealand knows that just below its seemingly civilized ex-British Colonial surface is a weird provincial ‘hillbilly’ underbelly that can give Arkansas or West Virginia a run for their money any day of the week—think Top of the Lake. NZ is full of brilliant light and dark, depressing places the travel blurbbers are never around long enough to stumble in to.
Although they speak more American English than they realize and have a very West Coast lifestyle, there is a deep undercurrent of dislike (read envy) for both Americans and, even more so, Asians. And although Kiwis brag about women getting the vote there early on and had a woman prime minister (few there have heard of Diane Feinstein or Nancy P, NZ is a seriously macho place. Kiwi Bubbas hold the real power under old boy, rugby rules and smart women there have to be tough skinned to get by, let alone, get on.
So what I liked about the main character is the mix of American Asian woman, growing up professionally in an IT world where women are empowered, who suddenly jumps blindly into another world that isn’t what it seems it should be and turns out to be very different. I know because, as an expat working in the IT industry, I’ve done that in NZ and observed similar tensions having done my time there, and then left with a hard to kick, love-hate taste in my mouth. All this is handled subtly in the book, maybe too much so for anyone who hasn’t been through this experience themselves. But then subtlety is a very Kiwi trait.
Rereading the book I found the word play and imagery tighter and cleverer than first time through. And maybe my review is more about me working through my issues as an expat who lived in NZ once. A lot of what’s in the book is what we expats used to hash through over a drink while working there. Stuff that’s usually kept quiet, which is also why I liked the book. To be honest, I never expected anyone would write a book that closely mirrored some of my experience of NZ.
Frankly, I’m not a fan of mysteries and thrillers as plots can be a little contrived and artificial, so I can’t comment on any literary value here. What touched me and interested me was more about how cultures played off each other. I passed it on to my mom and now she kinda gets what I used to complain about to her over skype. A Kiwi colleague here in states put me on to this book, and I’ve since passed it on to several friends back in NZ, where it hasn’t been published. How typically Kiwi to not notice a good local writer until they are published overseas.
Overall it’s a good, quick read and I’m curious to see where the main character moves on to next.
I was happily trotting along with a well-written, entertaining story that exposes many quirks of the New Zealand rural environment and the difficulties a asian heritage woman executive faces in its business ethos when a surprising twist left me gasping.
Very entertaining, well developed characters, a little gem that will make you know New Zealand a little better. Hope this little-known author keeps writing !
Now, her mother loses "inexorably, one marble at a time," and Lin finds in her mother's personal effects a photo of her father when he lived in New Zealand. That photo background depicts a painting titled The Road to Ngatirua. "The painting is of a road zigzagging up a hill," Lin's arduous metaphoric uphill trek. Searching the Web, she learns the artist's name is Rose Mere, the first wife of Lin's father.
Having always wanted to reestablish contact with her Kiwi kin, and now at age 39, Lin Mere discovers the address where her father had lived in Wellington is for rent. She returns to the "land of hope and plenty," and shrewd business acumen in the "corporate testosterone" arena lands Lin employment as the CEO to launch telecom startup, Hera. But "climbing that ladder, rung by rung," Lin learns that "Corporate psychopaths don't need to use their hands to murder people in order to get what they want."
Family and career choices, combined, would be a dilemma. Lin's third element is Ben, "the man I chose to give up when they offered me the job." That corporate success brings affluence. "Ben is not the romantic type," but picks wild flowers for Lin, the only gift he can afford. Lin muses, "When I wanted to show how I felt, I bought him things he couldn't afford. When I spend money, I feel in control." Their rekindled romance becomes strained, when Ben says, "You're as bad as Vivienne." And readers come to see the real Lin through her actions. She makes calculated executive choices for her personal life that have profound ramifications for others.
The publisher defines trilemma as a difficult choice from three options. This definition sets the stage for debut novelist Jennifer Mortimer's TRILEMMA, an astounding thriller that has zigzag plot twists rivaling the hairpin turns depicted in The Road to Ngatirua.
Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy for Bookreporter
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