Saturday, September 21, 2013

Book Review: A Vision of Angels by Timothy Jay Smith


Book: A Vision of Angels

Author: Timothy Jay Smith

No. of Pages: 300

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Owl Canyon Press


Debdatta Dasgupta Sahay of 'b00k r3vi3ws by DDS' recommended me to the Author who wrote to me with a book review request. I accepted. And glad I am that I did. Frankly I would have never picked up this book if I had encountered it in a store (online or real world) but the personal email from the Author somehow tipped the decision in favor of reading this book.

Let me tell you … the most striking thing about the book is a set of very believable and very intense characters. The setting is complex and covers a lot of ground in explaining the state of affairs ... some very striking examples like an individual being prosecuted for 'trespassing' on his own land. The inner turmoil of every character that the author has brought out in the book is pretty remarkable and makes this a slow read.

You can't just zip through the book as one would do while rading fiction. You read, you pause, you feel, you reflect, you identify with the state of mind of the character.

Earlier this year, I read a book 'In the Shoes of the Dead', which was about farmers in India who were committing suicide due to failed crops and governance negligence. The book was similar ... strong characters, inner turmoil, a tragic climax steeped in reality rather than fiction.

The authors experience and life history has a significant role to play in making the book 'real'. You should read about the author before reading the book to get a glimpse of what you are getting into while reading the book. Tim has seen things and experienced the life that he has written about, first hand. He has seen the pain and inner turmoil that he writes about in the book. Through his written words, he makes it real for the reader.

Now for some words about the plot … the book blurb says "A terrorist threat for Easter Sunday in Jerusalem sets off a chain of events that weave together the lives of an American journalist, Israeli war hero, Palestinian farmer, and Arab-Christian grocer. Alerted to a suicide bomb plot, Major Jakov Levy orders the border with Gaza Strip closed. Unable to get his produce to market, Amin Mousa dumps truckloads of tomatoes in a refugee camp. David Kessler, an American journalist, sees it reported on television and goes to Gaza for Amin's story. Hamas militants plot to smuggle a bomb out in David's car and retrieve it when he returns home, but he's unexpectedly detoured on the way. Meanwhile, a cell member confesses to the plot, and the race is on to find David and retrieve the bomb before the terrorists can. Ultimately A VISION OF ANGELS is a story of reconciliation and hope, but not before events as tragic as a modern passion play change the lives of four families forever."

With the author's background and experience, one expects him to have strong views on the overall political situation and the conflict. This poses a threat to the story telling as the author can easily get carried away making the story a monologue or a white-paper or an editorial. Thankfully, this is not the case with Tim in Vision of Angels. He sticks to the story. He does not express his views. Brings out the situation and leaves the interpretation to readers.

It's interesting to read how innocent men are labeled terrorist and how the system as well as media plays it out and its impact on the families of the accused and those around them. As you read the story, you begin to see how the conflicts of today are the deeply rooted in the past and how people lose sight of reality over a period time living in a reality constructed out of their own experiences rather than the reality.

I usually don't pick up such books ... political conflicts, serious, emotional, steeped in reality ... but this year has been different. I got both books for review and I am thankful it happened. I liked reading both. Both have left a profound impression on me.  Thank You to both authors for bringing out such remarkable books!!

It's a different book. It's not your usual fiction with a terrorist plot amid world politics. Its far more real. I would recommend this to you but you need to have the heart and stomach to digest the bitter reality.  

Just FYI - Author Website - 

1 comment:

  1. Hello Shoooonya,

    I wanted to let you know that "A Vision of Angels" is a finalist in Foreword Reviews' Book of the Year Award. Established in 1998, Foreword Reviews has become the preeminent book reviewer in the U.S. for independent publishers, and strives to introduce readers to writers who have been overlooked by The Big Six. Thanks again for your great review.