Thursday, August 15, 2013

Powerful and Compelling

Born and raised in Russia, Julia Gousseva is the author of several books such as Moscow Dreams and Twelve Months of Soviet Childhood, in which she brings a taste of the literary heritage of her homeland to the American reader. I am greatly honored that she posted this lovely review for A Favorite Son:

5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and CompellingAugust 15, 2013
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This review is from: A Favorite Son (Kindle Edition)
One of the most unforgettable images in "A Favorite Son" is the long-sleeved goatskin coat of the narrator's mother. At the beginning, the coat is described as "kept safely in her chest, hidden from the eyes of the world." As the story unfolds, in an effort to protect, conceal, and betray, this treasured coat is ripped to shreds, becoming a vivid symbol of the power struggle tearing this family apart.

In "A Favorite Son," Uvi Poznansky engages the readers with the eternal themes that have occupied people's minds since times immemorial. It is a story of complicated family relationships, love, death, vengeance, and betrayal.

The first person narrator of the story mesmerizes the readers with his authentic, sincere, and honest voice. Honest despite the ultimate act of deceit he is about to commit. In his own words, "I am bold, fierce, adventurous. I am my father's favorite son." And that is indeed true, just not in the way it seems on the surface.

The narrator's relationships with his blind father, with his twin brother, and with the mother are all complicated in different ways. His love and admiration for the mother is evident at many points in the story, but especially when he describes the mother's treacherous journey from her homeland to the place where they live now, "their wasteland." As the story unfolds, the flawed nature of the first-person narrator becomes more and more evident to the readers. Even his love for his mother acquires new and frightening dimensions.

"My path was slippery, for a torrent of rain poured down mercilessly upon the earth," says the narrator at one point, and he is not only referring to the physical terrain, but to the state of his mind and his soul. This book encourages the reader to "look directly at yourself facing the pain and the ugly imperfections within."

Highly recommended.

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