How far would you go to live a moral life? A compellingly intelligent story about moral ambition and its pitfalls, following the journey of a Western doctor trying to make a difference in a stricken Islamic community.
An emergency physician in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Frank Huyler is the author of the essay collection The Blood of Strangers, as well as the novel The Laws of Invisible Things. He grew up in Iran, Brazil, and Japan.
Doctor-author Huyler offers in his first novel (after story collection The Laws of Invisible Things) a clear-eyed if occasionally overwrought exploration of grief and redemption in a refugee camp set in an unnamed mountainous Islamic country. After witnessing his wife's slow death, cardiologist Charles Anderson volunteers to be the doctor at a remote refugee camp set up in the aftermath of an earthquake. He is joined by Elise, a German geneticist studying the DNA of a mountain tribe, and Sanjit Rai, a local military officer assigned to protect the camp. As the days pass and the refugees fail to appear, Anderson questions the motivations of those who put him there and his own reasons for fleeing into the mountains, including his decision to not face his devastated son. Anderson's desire to heal becomes twisted up with the clash between east and west, rich and poor, as well as with regional conflict. The prose is sturdy and evocative in this perhaps too sincere and sentimental exploration of what limited power any given individual has to change the world. (May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
"Frank Huyler creates a thrilling drama out of a few well-chosen elements." * Harper's Magazine *
"A fascinating and heartbreaking meditation on healing and motivation ... Even when there's nothing happening in this beautifully austere novel, Huyler provides readers with plenty to ponder." * Minneapolis Star Tribune *
"Breathtakingly vivid...scrupulous and severe in its allegiance to truth-telling." * The Times Literary Supplement *
"Resonant. . . . vivid and compassionate. . . . A timely, disquieting reflection on mortality, war and the startling dichotomy between the affluent West and the impoverished Third World." * Kirkus Reviews *
"He writes in a surgical fashion-with precision and care, making no sudden metaphorical movements. Huyler's protagonist resists easy answers or self-congratulatory axioms in examining the ethics of humanitarian intervention." * The New Yorker *
"Sturdy and evocative." * Publishers Weekly *
"Dr. Huyler's writing is quiet, precise, spellbinding from beginning to end ... Easily holds with the best contemporary fiction." * The New York Times *