Pulitzer Prize finalist: “A soaring literary epic about the forces that have driven us to the 9/11 age . . . relentlessly captivating” (Ron Charles, The Washington Post).
When humanitarian lawyer Tom Harrington travels to Haiti to investigate the murder of a beautiful photojournalist, he is confronted with a dangerous landscape riddled with poverty, corruption, and voodoo. It’s the late 1990s, a time of brutal guerrilla warfare and civilian kidnappings. The journalist, whom he knew years before as Jackie Scott, had a bigger investment in Haiti than it seemed. To make sense of her death, Tom must plunge back into his complicated ties to Jackie—and her mysterious past.
Shacochis traces Jackie’s shadowy family history from the outlaw terrain of World War II Dubrovnik to 1980s Istanbul. Caught between her first love and her domineering father—an elite Cold War spy pressuring her to follow in his footsteps—seventeen-year-old Jackie hatches a desperate escape plan. But getting out also puts her on the path that turns her into the soulless woman Tom fears as much as desires.
Set over fifty years and in four war-torn countries, The Woman Who Lost Her Soul is National Book Award winner Bob Shacochis’s masterpiece and a magnum opus. It brings to life an intricate portrait of catastrophic events that led up to the war on terror and the America we are today.
In Shacochis's powerful novel of sex, lies, and American foreign policy, 1990s Haiti, Nazi-occupied Croatia, and Cold War era Istanbul are shown as places where people are pulled into a vortex of personal and political destruction. After leaving Haiti's Truth Commission, lawyer Tom Harrington returns to Florida and family routine until a private investigator asks him to help a client accused of murdering his wife, Renee Gardner, whom Harrington knew in Haiti as Jackie Scott. Harrington once took Jackie to a voodoo priest so she could ask him to restore her soul, and in flashbacks we discover why. First, Shacochis shows Jackie's father, Stjepan, as an eight-year-old Croatian boy during the German occupation who witnesses his father's beheading and his mother's torture. Forty years later, a teenage Jackie, then called Dorothy Chambers, learns the meaning of secret service from her father, who's serving as an American diplomat in Turkey. A brutal American-style le Carr , Shacochis details how espionage not only reflects a nation's character but can also endanger its soul. Gritty characters find themselves in grueling situations against a moral and physical landscape depicted in rich language as war-torn, resilient, angry, evil, and hopeful.