This post requires a little bit of an introduction, I believe, before getting into the good stuff.I believe I mentioned at one point that I was helping a friend with his book. Helping, as in doing some editing and writing the book jacket thing. If I didn't mention that...well, I did. And it was a lot of fun, and one hell of an experience-one that I would do again in a heartbeat.
My friend, whose name is Derek McPhee (website right here), wrote a book that is now, officially published! As I am, as of this moment, one of a very few, who have read the book, I would like to offer my (somewhat) biased thought on the book, The Smallest, Narrowest Places.
**Side note** I would give you all the book jacket synopsis...but I wrote it, and it seems a little self serving to do that. But it's available in the links above, so please feel free to peruse that as you will <3
The good stuff.
Everyday, history unfolds around us-but how do we know what will matter in the future? What makes history memorable....what makes history?
It is the stories.
The stories of the events that will be remembered, the stories of the things that touched people, and it will be their stories-the participants-the survivors-that will matter.
The Smallest, Narrowest Places is a collection of those stories that history will remember. This debut fictional novel by Derek McPhee explores the events and the stories that sprung from 3/11-the Japanese earthquake and tsunami as viewed by a foreigner in the Land of the Rising Sun.
The stories contained within the novel touch on family, love, loss and suffering in the events that came before, during and after the Japanese disaster. There is a myriad of feelings throughout the novel-but the pervading feeling is one of hope. Hope for understanding, love and-most importantly-hope for the future.
The stories explore the lives of foreigners living in Japan , in a realistic, no holds barred, blunt, honest sans sugar coating way that can only be described by someone living that life. And yet, there is a deep understanding and respect of the Japanese people and their culture in a way that escapes many foreigners, and yet creates a bond between the different cultures in a global society. The author, a Canadian who moved to Japan upwards of 5 years ago, has assimilated into Japanese life as best a foreigner can in Japan, and has a deep understanding of Japan, its culture, and how it views the foreigners who call the island nation home.
The stories are connected in a way that creates a whole picture, without seeming to. And yet, there is also a fragmented feeling that comes from a disaster of the magnitude that was 3/11. The stories stay with the reader in a way that only a good book can do, and, even long after reading the novel, those stories are remembered.