Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Book Tour Review, Interview, Excerpt of SHADOW ON THE WALL


Shadow on the Wall by Pavarti K. Tyler
Fantasy ; (248 pgs)
GENERAL FICTION/NOVEL CATEGORY OF THE 2012 NEXT GENERATION INDIE BOOK AWARD

Recai Osman: Muslim, philosopher, billionaire and Superhero?

Controversial and daring, Shadow on the Wall details the transformation of Recai Osman from complicated man to Superhero. Forced to witness the cruelty of the Morality Police in his home city of Elih, Turkey, Recai is called upon by the power of the desert to be the vehicle of change. Does he have the strength to answer Allah's call or will his dark past and self doubt stand in his way?

Pulling on his faith in Allah, the friendship of a Jewish father-figure and a deeply held belief that his people deserve better, Recai Osman must become The SandStorm.

In the tradition of books by Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, Shadow on the Wall tackles issues of religion, gender, corruption and the basic human condition. Beautiful and challenging, this is not a book to miss. (GoodReads)


First off, this novel really took me on a surprising ride.  Every once in a while a novel will come along that will enrapture you into a meaningful and purposeful experience.  This is a book in which the narrative tone reminded me of a wise person whose stories are elegant and naturally honest.  The placements of the events and memories throughout the book are full of depth.  There is also a switch of events from the past to the present and vice versa, and even that is so perfectly sequenced leaving just enough suspense for the future and enough curiosity for the mystery of the past.  Goodreads says that this book is 'fantasy,' but really this book borders on 'real.' I experienced a truly touching journey.

This is definitely a book you can read again and again and always gain something new of meaning.  I found so many incredible quotes throughout the book.  My favorite lines were usually those of an optimistic nature, as well as a sad (even tragic) but real nature.  For example, something as simple as the description of one of the characters, Hasad, who was "resourceful, able to accomplish things others only dreamt of." He was always making "the best of the challenges God has given us."  There are so many more with the same meaningful caliber or better.  Plus, the descriptive visual scenery of the interactions between the characters is phenomenally depthful, touching, and enrapturing.   One, for example, is between Recai (the main character) and his saviour (also the father of the woman he loses): "Recai's eyes filled with water again as he fell on his knees before the old man.  His life had been saved so many years before, only to be the cause of Rebekah's death.  There was nothing about him that was worth saving.  He failed time and again, never able to do or be enough.  But he ached for the understanding of the only soul who knew the pain he suffered.  He wept for the first time in a long time since Rebekah's death.  Hasad placed a forgiving hand on his shoulder."

Now this brings me to the names in the story.  I couldn't help but think that every time I read the names of the characters there was another level of depth filling the story.  Recai.  Rebekah.  Hasad.  Darya.  Maybe I'm not used to such foreign names, but to me they sound musical, mystical, and they pretty much command attention.  

I also loved the history of the characters.  Each of them are very much imperfect but this really does make them special human beings.  By history I mean mostly familial backgrounds.  Recai's father made a fortune in the Osman Corporation in Elih, Turkey and later disappeared after his mother jumped without a warning off a yacht.  This leaves him marked for life and later suffering the consequences of his character traits in the midst of a life that he didn't really sign up for but rather inherited. Rebekah's mother also passed away when she was only five years old and was forced to be "the child to fill the shoes of a much older woman, much wiser woman."  Rebekah also suffered the loss of her baby brother shortly after he was born.  Then you have the stories of Hasad and Darya which seem like secondary character but they bare just as much importance as Recai and Rebekah.  Their stories are also fully of intrigue and human complexities.  

There is so much more I could talk about in terms of this book.  It is really one of those book I've encountered this year that I will be keeping on my bookshelf to possibly reread in the future.  It's simple, yet depthful and touching.



INTERVIEW

1. What inspired this book?  
The book was inspired by a challenge a friend put out for someone to write a Middle Eastern Superhero story.  After writing the first 5000 words I realized I had a lot more to say then I originally thought and I just kept going.

2. In the summary on Goodreads there is a mention about Margaret Atwood, and as a huge fan of Margaret Atwood, I'm curious, how has Margaret Atwood influenced your writing, or what rold does Margaret Atwood play in the outcome of this book?
Handmaid's Tale is one of my favorite books.  I think it's the first book I ever read that incorporated both feminism and religion.  Shadow of the Wall strongly pulls on both those themes.  While I'm sure there are more subtle influences, Margaret Atwood primarily gave me the strength to say what I needed to say and write the story I was driven to write.  Her bravery and ground breaking work paved the way for a no one Indie Author like me to try something transgressive and controversial.

3. If there was one thing you would want the readers to notice and deeply think about in this book, what would it be?
How would the book be different if the MAIN CHARACTER were a woman?  Would the story still work?

4. Who is the audience of this book?
Anyone over 18 willing to take a leap of faith and open their hearts and minds.

5. What's next for you?
Two Moons of Sera, my serial novel, is due for an update.  Volume Three is partially written so now I'll be focusing on finishing that.  I also have two more novels in the works, Devour and Heaven's Vault.  The next book is the SandStorm Chronicles, Prisoner of the Wind is still in the percolating stage, but I'll have news about that as well soon.




EXCERPT

   Recai Osman awoke slowly, flickering in and out of consciousness, the sun scorching his bruised and exhausted body. 
   Where am I? 
   His foggy mind struggled to remember the last twenty-four hours. 
   Gritty particles shifted in sympathy as he rolled to his side. Sunlight assaulted his closed lids shooting pain through his head. Sand clung to his long lashes and hair. When the disorientation passed, Recai wiped his eyes with sand-infested hands, only adding to what clung to his fingers, pressing the grains deeper into his dry eyes, abrading them. Recai was covered in particles so fine they filled his shoes and ground into his scalp between each follicle of hair. 
   Recai pushed his hands into the warm sand, lifting himself to a sitting position to look around. The night before was still a blur. He remembered the bar at Bozoogullari Hotel and sharing a drink with a Kurdish woman who reminded him of his mother. Women who lived in Elih knew better than to be seen in a public bar, but the hotel staff looked the other way; money could buy many freedoms. Her deep-set eyes were so dark they may have genuinely been black. Their mischievous glint and the sound of his mother's language had drawn him in. A thin veil was tight around her hairline; she'd caught his attention with the modern style of having it pulled back and away from her shoulders, allowing him to clearly see the neckline of her dress. 
   His head spun from last night's drink and a dull throb built within his skull. Recai swallowed, his dry tongue thick from dehydration. Usually a soft bed and a forgiving shower greeted him upon waking. How had he gotten out here, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but sand? He hoped the dunes he saw were the ones that resided to the south of the city and not a feature of some farther, larger wasteland. 
   He didn't remember leaving the bar or traveling anywhere. How much had he drunk? Surely not more than any other night out, but his memory was hazy as he attempted to peer into the past. There were rumors of nomads kidnapping, robbing, and abandoning the bodies of affluent Turks in the desert. But he would remember if he'd been kidnapped, wouldn't he? Instead, all he remembered was drinking bourbon while admiring the curve of the mysterious woman's collarbone peeking seductively above her blouse. 
   The dunes just outside of Elih, Turkey, were not large. The expanse of emptiness made it easy to become disoriented and lost amongst the shifting terrain. If he'd been lucky, he'd have awoken at night and followed the light of the city toward home. But now, with the sun blazing above him, luck was something he simply didn't have. 
   Men didn't last long in the dunes without water and supplies. Recai was resourceful; his conscription in the Turkish military had been short but very educational. If he'd had a canteen and some salt tablets he'd be able to survive without food or shelter for a few days. But not like this . . . 
   He shook his head and streams of sand fell to the ground around him. Negativity wasn't going to help him get home. 
   Recai blinked back the encroaching fog in his mind. The sun and lack of water already affected his focus, and the temperature was still rising. Recai took off his shoes and socks, knowing that despite the burning sand this terrain was best traversed the way his ancestors had. He needed to feel the earth below him, to listen to the sand as it fell away from his steps. 
   He undid his belt and jacket and made them into a satchel to carry what few possessions he had. Searching his pockets he found them empty. He was as penniless as a wandering Roma seeking his next fortune. Soon he had his designer button-up shirt tied around his head like a Shik turban, and his worldly possessions hung from his belt over his shoulder. 
   The scruff of his untrimmed beard protected his face from the sun, and the turban kept him somewhat shaded. Recai took in his surroundings and the placement of the sun and set off in the direction he hoped was north. 
    Recai walked for what seemed like miles, resisting the instinct to second-guess his direction. The sand moved between his toes but soon he found his footing and his body responded to the landscape as if from some genetic memory. He remembered his father's words from a trip he took to the Oman desert as a child: Never take your shoes off; the sand will eat away at your feet. Recai had done it anyway, then and now, feeling more in control with that connection to the ground, its movements speaking to his flesh directly. 
   His father had always been full of surprises: one moment the strict disciplinarian, the next, he would wake Recai in the middle of the night to see a falling star. Recai had never had the chance to get to know him as an adult. Instead, he lived with the enigmatic memory of a great man lost. 
   Recai stood in the middle of the desert—every direction would




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