An accessible, beautifully crafted and heartbreakingly topical novel about PTSI and the unseen effects of global conflict on ordinary lives.
Beyond the bright lights and casinos lies the real Las Vegas, a forces town. In the predawn hours, a woman's marriage crumbles with a single confession. Across the city, Bashkim, the young son of an immigrant family, observes how they are struggling to get by in the land of opportunity. Three thousand miles away on the other side of the United States, a soldier, recently returned from active service in Iraq, wakes up in hospital with the feeling he's done something awful.
In Laura McBride's heartbreaking and authentic novel, these disparate lives are brought together by one split-second choice; this is a story about families, the ones we are born to and the ones we choose to make. Faced with seemingly insurmountable loss, each person must decide whether to give in to despair, or to find the courage and resilience to rise.
'A powerful story of the way in which war detonates far from battlefields, exploding lives in a single irrevocable moment. We Are Called to Risereverberated long after I'd put it down. I can't stop thinking about it' Sarah Blake, The Postmistress
'A haunting and unforgettable debut' Marie Claire
'Compelling, emotional and heart-breaking' Sun
'Packs a raw, emotional power' Sunday Mirror
'Like Donna Tartt's… The Goldfinch, it strips a layer of gloss off the Las Vegas myth by moving to the families populating suburbia' Grazia
In her debut novel, McBride introduces us chapter by chapter to a disparate group of Las Vegans. Among them are Avis, whose husband Jim has just left her for another woman, and their son, Nate, a troubled veteran of the Iraq War who has returned to join a craven Vegas police department and who has begun to abuse his young wife. We also meet Bashkim, an Albanian immigrant boy whose unassimilated parents barely survive selling ice cream from a truck; another veteran named Luis, who is hospitalized after a suicide attempt, and with whom Bashkim begins corresponding as part of a school project; and various other school officials and charitable folk who, for better or worse, are trying to help sort things out. The story builds tension as the lives of these people unfold, intersecting in violent and catastrophic circumstances. But McBride's characters are warm with pulsing vitality, their interior struggles as dramatic as the painful events that will alter each of their paths. The narrative is compelling enough to draw the reader along, even as it skips from one character's point of view to another. And it is a testament to the author's mature voice and storytelling talent that we are willing to take to heart the lessons her story offers.
Wee are called to rise
By page 21 I was hooked and read the story in 2 days. Beautifully woven together and cleverly written through the eyes of each character who were all as believable as the next one. I'll miss the people in this story and would love to hear the next journey they all take.