Thursday, May 20, 2010
It is rare when an author can bring tears to your eyes within the first few pages of a book, but once again John Shors has the ability to do so with ease in his newest novel Dragon House. This amazingly poignant novel brings to life a world most of us will never know, that of the lives of the people of Vietnam.
How rare it is to find an author so capable of bringing a world of diverse characters to life in one's mind so easily, yet Shors does so with such ease that you don't even realize how intimate you have become with each of the characters until you close the book shut. The story is one of absolute beauty and somehow you find that beauty in a country that normally would most likely be considered ugly. The beauty of the country comes out with each of the characters themselves, from those native to the country to those who are strangers brought there by different and often unknown missions.
I personally found the depth of the characters unremarkable. You get to know each of the characters as if you have had the opportunity to creep into their inner-person, often finding things you would never assume to find. Sahn, the former soldier turned police officer, so crast and angry yet so full of love for his country that he cannot help but allow those he sees as intruders do their job in helping the children of the country he loves so much. You start off disliking the man, hating his anger and end up realizing why his anger is so deep and how it's truly just a facade to protect his own well-being. The children in the story will steal your heart, from the sickly Tam to the lost souls of Mai and Mahn. Your heart is stolen by the children as much as it does the main characters & adults of the story itself; leaving you aching for each of their souls. The main characters are delightful. Sweet Thien, filled with such love, kindness and tenderness that she brings such attributes out in even the least likely characters in the book. Thien sees the beauty most overlook in her country and knows how to bring that beauty into the eyes of those she is with. Noah, angry with what life has handed him tries to find answers in so many different places, including the bottom of a bottle, only to find them in the most unassuming of places. He overcomes anger, pain and hurt by finding his inner soul he has lost as he takes on a project that becomes his reason for living. He is truly determined & even in the highest of pain he cannot be stopped now that he has a purpose. Iris, unsure why she's there until her heart is shown the "real" Vietnam by Thien, hopes to pursue the dreams of the man she still isn't sure about, her own father. Often frightened of the unknown ways of this strange country she aspires to bring a huge project to life that her father had begun but died before he could finish. So many obstacles in the way but such need and determination make it something she knows she must accomplish. These 3 main characters alone will touch your heart. The children and people of this land will touch your heart even deeper. The book truly is as strong as it's characters.
Once again, another absolutely excellent & profound piece of work written by John Shors! It is honestly "yet another" of the beautiful masterpieces he seems to be able to put together for his readers. If you're in need of a vacation to a land you would normally never get a chance to visit, this may just be your ticket. Filled with an amazing, touching storyline and unbelievably real & deep characters you won't walk away disappointed. 5 Stars PLUS!
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