by Thomas W Devine
This is a complex story with a theme of cultural diversity.
Storyline: Tara, a 15-year old Assyrian girl, is rescued by a security contractor, Matt Couper, while he is stationed in Iraq. She is sent eventually to a New Zealand refugee camp, then given a home with a Muslim couple and their adult son.
Tara learns quickly that because of the way men of the faith think, life for a Muslim woman is no more advanced in New Zealand than in her own country of Iraq. Through involvement with other such women in a New Zealand University Tara starts to recognise how their situation is sometimes unequal in relation to a man’s. It is very strict and they are not allowed to live as freely, in relation to their clothing as well as their outside involvement in the New Zealand community. Tara starts rebelling and asking questions, and even her best friend becomes angry with her over some of her choices. Abdur, the son of her host family, has fallen for her rebellious nature and wishes to have the power to control her, but he has other affiliations that lead him along a further path. Matt too, is drawn into a situation that could have a disastrous outcome.
I read this book twice as I felt it deserved a second reading in order to appreciate the intricate theme of cultural perspective.
Thomas Devine has crafted a very strong story based in a war that had a horrific outcome for some such as Tara. He incorporates his knowledge of religion and culture, and how these intersect when western and eastern worlds merge. I totally respected his very un-judgemental approach.
There are strong beliefs on each side and Thomas manages to portray both worlds very well, showing how they can survive but not without strong knowledge of each other’s priorities. As a reader with a strong cultural background myself, I applaud his book as a well-written and very good read.
Author: Thomas W Devine
Publisher: Thomas W Devine
Available: Paperback & Kindle available via Amazon; paperback: Writers Plot Readers Read, Upper Hutt bookstore