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Monday, July 29, 2013

A Marker To Measure Drift: A Novel

Gasp. That is the only sentiment I have for Alexander Maksik's A Marker to Measure Drift.

A woman sleeps in a cave only accessible at low tide. She has seen things that would would stunt even the strongest human. Her mother speaks to her often and guides her on the desperate search for a place to sleep at night, food to fill her belly, and peace to accept what life has handed her. In the beauty of the Aegean, Jacqueline must find her basic sanity in order to carry on with life.

Oooooohhhhhh eeeemmmmm ggggeeeeeeee. This novel was haunting. It was all-consuming. It owned my head and my heart for a time. It was completely arresting and alternately horrifying and heartbreaking. It was like peeling away the layers of an artichoke to get to the heart. I was completely curious, overwhelmingly desirous even to figure out was this woman and how she ended up here in the most beautiful place on earth. Why did she leave her family behind in Liberia, and why does she choose to stay on the island she has found?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book for its heavy-handedness and lack of boundaries on Jacqueline's spiral into loneliness. I cared about finding out who she was, where she came from, and where she was going. I also cared about from where she would get her next meal, and I had specific opinions on when and why she should, or shouldn't, move. I was so happy when she found a home and wary when she found a friend. She was a compelling character that drove the story, humanizing a tale so heartbreaking.

Kindle version on the left, hard copy on the right.

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