A breathtaking novel of love, war, and betrayal
Flash, a photojournalist, chases conflicts around the globe with her war correspondent husband, Brando. Now Brando is in Iraq, awaiting her arrival. Yet instead of racing to join him, Flash idles in Istanbul, vaguely aware that her marriage is faltering.
Losing herself in a fog of memory and recrimination, Flash ponders her life with the ambitious and handsome husband she calls “Wonderboy.” Her malaise is compounded by the arrival of a mysterious letter informing her that Brando has been unfaithful to her in Baghdad. Devastated and unwilling to confront him over the phone, Flash spirals deeper into regret, anger, and indecision. Were she and Brando ever happy?
I spent a good thirty minutes trying to think of ways to begin this review. The biggest challenge stems, as always, from my opinion of the book; an opinion that’s torn.
On one hand I can appreciate the story being told; the story of a broken marriage, a woman used to peering into the lives of others and having to, ultimately, examine herself with that lens. There’s a touch of mystery, did “Wonderboy” cheat or did he not cheat? Who wrote that damning letter? Did the letter actually affect the already strained relationship between “Flash” and “Wonderboy” or was it broken beyond repair before it appeared?
Then, on the other hand, I wanted to reach into the book and just slap some sense into the selfish bitch that was “Flash”. As a privileged American I took the rebukes of the author to heart; yes, I get that war and famine and death is happening around the world and I get that, honestly, it does not affect my daily life. Sure I can pray about it – but I am not different than the majority of Americans out there going to work and play without much thought spared toward the hardships of those around the globe. But “Flash” didn’t seem to learn any of this … in fact, I didn’t see that she learned much of anything at all except maybe not to judge without speaking to the individual first.
What it all boiled down to was that, for me, this was not a good read. I had to force myself through the last half of it and in fact enjoyed the “About the Author” more than I did the story itself. The Author wrote her “About me” section talking about the preparation of food and the comfort that simple alchemy can give. That I could relate to, more than anything she had written about “Flash”.
I’m not going to steer you away from this book; I don’t know enough about your lifestyle to know if it would help you or not. I’m just here to tell you that this was a book that evoked some strong reactions in me; some of which were not good.
About the Author
Ana Menéndez was born in Los Angeles, the daughter of Cuban exiles. She is the author of three books of fiction, In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd, which was a 2001 New York Times Notable book of the year and whose title story won a Pushcart Prize, Loving Che(2004) and The Last War (2009) chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of the top 100 books of the year.
Since 1991 Ana has worked as a journalist in the United States and abroad, most recently as a prize-winning columnist for The Miami Herald. As a reporter, she has written about Cuba, Haiti, Kashmir, Afghanistan and India, where she was based for three years.
To learn more please visit Ana Menendez’s website.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from TLC Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”