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GONE TO SOLDIERS: A Fiction Novel about WWII ~ Marge Piercy

Monday, April 25th, 2016

I discovered Marge Piercy the writer in the early 1990s.  GONE TO SOLDIERS was published in 1987 and I had already read GOING DOWN FAST, SMALL CHANGES, WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME,  FLY AWAY HOME, and HE, SHE, IT. The women I was in a support group with in New York City were praising Piercy’s work and we were sharing copies.  I enjoy her writing very much and her outlook.

After posting the review for HE, SHE, IT, an email* came in asking me if I would like to read GONE TO SOLDIERS for review.   I said yes I would like to read it, forgetting that I had read it first 30 years ago.  I just was so happy to read more of Piercy’s words.   The Kindle told me that at my reading speed it would take 32 hours and 30 minutes to get to the end.   I dove right into each chapter and hardly came up for air.  I am not incredibly fond of books about war.  This one is quite exceptional.  It took 7 years to write and perfect before it was published and winning so many awards.  I was so happy to read it once again.

The book has an interesting shape as 10 characters and their stories are highlighted throughout the book. Some have 14 chapters to their stories.  We begin before the start of the war in France and before the USA became involved.  WWII is over and recovery is beginning at the end of the story.  The primary theme is about being Jewish and how the Jewish experience of the war overlaps and touches so many lives.  I was amazed at how badly the USA Jews were treated and particularly by the Marine corp.  Some American Generals had no trouble with killing Jews in Europe and participated in the process. Each character was well defined and the connecting characters gave continuity to the story and kept the thread of the themes moving forward.

Extraordinary writing. So revealing about the hate we are seeing displayed even now in the USA, so much fear, and how working from that fear keeps us holding on and not moving forward.

Whenever the control is too great, there are scapegoats and then they are vilified and verbally derogated.  It was important for me to read this novel once again. I feel it with mature eyes.  There is more and more to the story; I become a witness.

I not only humbly give this book top stars and I feel as though it should be required reading in our schools today.   I highly recommend this story.

“Marge Piercy has written 17 novels including The New York Times Bestseller Gone To Soldiers; the National Bestsellers Braided Lives and The Longings of Women, and the classic Woman on the Edge of Time and He, She and It and most recently Sex Wars; ; 19 volumes of poetry including The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems 1980-2010, The Crooked Inheritance and in spring 2015, Made in Detroit; and a critically acclaimed memoir Sleeping with Cats. Born in center city Detroit, educated at the University of Michigan and Northwestern, the recipient of four honorary doctorates, she is active in antiwar, feminist and environmental causes.“ (Header at website)

Marge Piercy’s Website and Bio

*Kindle book was sent by Greta Shull, Marketing Coordinator, Open Road Integrated Media, 180 Maiden Lane, suite 8A  New York, NY 10038

Related:
He, She, It
When Women Were Birds
The Sowing

SCENT OF BUTTERFLIES: A novel of betrayal ~Dora Levy Mossanen

Monday, February 16th, 2015

“This is all a butterfly’s life amounts to.  Evolving from egg to worm to adult, with nothing better to do than obsess over a quick sip of nectar so as to get on with the senseless frenzy of mating.” (Page 59)

SCENT OF BUTTERFLIES was just the perfect read for a rainy day, knowing that the camellias were blooming and the bulbs pushing upward out of the ground.  Mossanen has written quite a story that includes the garden and the fragrances surrounding not only the flowers but the people as well.  The nose knows and having a very sensitive smelling instrument it was lovely to identify with this trait.

Soraya is a woman of Iran and she was in school during the revolution and the rise of the Mullah controlled society.   She is a tall, blond Jewish woman, the only child of a very, very wealthy family.  Her life includes a father, mother, and a wise old Grandmother – Emerald, who was the jeweler to the Shah and his family.  Her life is as she wishes and includes a best friend who she protects because this friend lost her family and is being cared for by an abusive aunt.  Soraya’s father covers her Parvaneh’s expenses including the private school they both attend.  At age 13-14 Soraya falls in love with Aziz and they are married when she is 15 and of age.  The story begins when they have been married for 20 years and do not have children.  Soraya is a photographer, limited by the mullah’s rules for women in Iran.

With a warning from her Grandmother, Soraya discovers how she has been betrayed and with her safety net in place she leaves Iran for the United States to plan her revenge.  She purchases a mansion in Los Angeles and develops a butterfly garden and a trap for those who betrayed her.   She is aware that she can never go back to Iran and although this upsets her she forges ahead in preparation.

Lots and lots of secrets in this story and Soraya is so in love with Aziz she does not see as clearly what is happening nor that her obsession and perception is controlling an extremely limited view of relationship and adoration.  She is changing to be like the butterfly as she lives in her anger.

The writing was the true gem of this story.  The author states that this story took her years to write, is written and re-written, and is her most personal.  It was just a pure pleasure to read this story and about a different culture.  It had enough fantasy with the incredible wealth involved and yet the fine details were not to be missed.  The political nuances were very descriptive and assisted the reader in finding a way to identify with the characters and understand how the situation created change and new coping skills.  It is valuable to know the story behind the world news headlines.

I say thank you to TLC BOOK TOURS  for sending this book to me for review and to the author for creating a story that I am able to highly recommend.

About the Author (from the book cover)

Dora Levy Mossanen was born in Israel and moved to Iran when she was nine.  At the onset of the Islamic revolution, she and her family were forced to leave Iran and settle in Los Angeles.  She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of California-Los Angeles and a master’s in professional writing from the University of Southern CA.

Dora is the bestselling author of the widely acclaimed novels HAREM, COURTESAN, and THE LAST ROMANOV, translated into numerous languages. She is the recipient of the prestigious San Diego Editors’ Choice Award and has been featured in various publications and media outlets, including SH’MA, LOS ANGELES TIMES, KCRW, Radio Iran, Radio Russia, and numerous television programs.  In 2010, Dora was accepted as contributor to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

She blogs for the HUFFINGTON POST and reviews fiction for the JEWISH JOURNAL.  She is working on THE VISIONARY, her fifth novel.

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