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A land without sin : a novel /

"As revolutionary forces gather in the Lacandon jungle of southern Mexico in the fall of 1993, an idealistic American priest vanishes from his post in San Cristobal de Las Casas. The church, immersed in trying to negotiate a peaceful solution to the escalating conflict between wealthy landowners... Full description

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Slant, 2013
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SUMMARY

As revolutionary forces gather in the Lacandon jungle of southern Mexico in the fall of 1993, an idealistic American priest vanishes from his post in San Cristobal de Las Casas. The Church, immersed in trying to negotiate a peaceful solution to the escalating conflict between wealthy landowners and poverty-stricken indigenas, remains strangely silent in the face of his disappearance. When his sister, Eva, only thirty-four but already a hardened battlefield photojournalist, finds out what's going on, she flies to Central America to find him, taking a job assisting a taciturn Dutch Mayanist in order to provide herself with a cover. But as it turns out, he, too, is on a secret quest. From the great pyramids of Tikal and the graceful palaces of Palenque to the shadowy guerrilla camps of the vast Lacandon, A Land Without Sin is a modern-day journey into the heart of darkness.


Review by Booklist Review

In the jungles of southern Mexico, a revolution is brewing. As tensions escalate between wealthy landowners and poverty-stricken peasants, local priest Stefan Kovic disappears. The church's failure to locate Stefan prompts his sister, Eva, a seasoned photojournalist, to take up the cause. To safely travel in the area, Eva takes a job with Jan, a local Mayan expert doing research nearby and, it turns out, on a secret quest of his own. Guided by a series of letters Stefan left behind, Eva travels deeper into the jungle, her growing uncertainty overshadowed by her fear for Stefan's safety and driven by her need to understand the revelations contained within the mysterious letters. In a journey reminiscent of Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Huston's characters travel a variety of difficult roads, away from all that is known and toward something that brings each far more than any of them bargained for. The novel, which takes readers deep into a land close at hand but worlds away, is a thought-provoking yet familiar journey honoring family, friendship, and the many unexpected paths of self-discovery.--Gladstein, Carol Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Eva Kovic is a war photographer whose brother Stefan, a priest, has disappeared amid revolutionary unrest in southern Mexico in 1993. She goes to find him but hides her mission by taking a job as a photographer with a Dutch archeologist who specializes in the Maya. Both Eva and the Mayanist are not what they seem, and their stories unroll in Central American jungles, crossing time and continents as Eva's family history and the archeologist's wife become key parts of the narrative tapestry. Eva is a hard case, slow to reveal anything but toughness; her absent brother is present in the narrative through his letters that Eva reads, so the emotional foothold offered readers is small at first. But the story deepens slowly, and its themes of war and family are profound and insistent, with tenacious hope eventually gaining a foothold. Huston (Daughters of Song) reels the reader in slowly, with subtle characterization and small clues planted early. A wonderful book for church book clubs; Huston takes God, the burden of history, and religion's big questions seriously. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


AUTHOR NOTES

Paula Huston is the author of the novel "Daughters of Song". She teaches fiction writing & literature at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California.

(Bowker Author Biography)


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