Sunday, June 23, 2013

Shattered Illusions by Leigh Hershkovich

A mystery, a thriller. Murder, intrigue, humanity, family, life.

Exactly how many times could I exclaim “wow!”

I just finished reading the debut novel by a young Orthodox Jewish woman who went against the expected to deliver something to the world totally unexpected and unyielding in its grip upon me, upon you, the reader, the silent, or not-so-silent witness to events that unfolded one imaginary summer in Louisiana.

I briefly introduced you to this young author in a previous post, something I rarely do while reading a book.  My enthusiasm for her continues. In the short time span of a hot, humid, and human summer, she has crafted emotional ties to these characters who are believable, honest, someone we know.  We step inside their minds and experience their soul.  It is is a breathless and breathtaking tale.

Four lives, six, seven, eight, exactly how many lives were affected by the events that took place that fateful night?  It was and is like a snowball effect melting through the muggy summer heat of the Bayou.  What in the world happened and how did he know it was going to happen?  And how many twists, turns, and subplots?

Wow, again, wow!  This novel by Leigh Hershkovich is at once poetic in the prose and prophetic in the delivery of each person’s story, each one equally a protagonist.  It was hard to root for one over the other, each expertly presented with as full a story line as we could encounter.

I am still sitting here, feeling like I just witnessed something so dramatic that is still unfolding somewhere, much like the after effects of a news report that reaches me in the Midwest but Is still lived out down South.

Finding myself wondering what happened to the characters left behind, secretly wanting her to continue to wait on tradition and venture more into this talent she has exposed to the world.  What a talent and what a contribution. 

Tasteful, deliberate, and mature beyond her young years, this book has captured hearts around the world.  

Mystery lovers, drama lovers, fiction lovers, even those who look for ethnic or cultural writing will be welcomed at the table set before us in the writing of this young author.
She has truly given vision and opened doors for other young writers who want the courage to put what is expected of them aside and reach for this treasure, this gift, that only G-d himself commands to be exposed to the sunlight reaching through the swamp.  What she has given is filling, thick and black like chickory coffee and eye-closing sensual like those beignets, this is a well-written, well-researched, completely believable, intriguing story.

This author's debut novel does not dissapoint and I am hoping she is preparing to write her second novel.  Her voice is a welcome contribution to the world of literary works.

Leigh Hershkovich…masel tov!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Too Good Not To Talk About - Shattered Illusions by Leigh Hershkovich

There has only been one other time that I introduced a book to my readers before I was finished with the book.  This is going to be the second time.

I "met" this young author through the wonders of technology.  She and I were students together in a Modern and Contemporary American Poetry class offered through Courera.  It was the dedication of our professor, Al Filreis of the University of Pennsylvania, in creating a true learning community and discussion group that brought me and this young author together. Through connections on our course facebook page and the global realization that this community of writers, poets, artists, and lovers of the aesthetic, was embarking on a life-changing journey.

It has been months since our class ended and we have maintained contact through emails and facebook.  She is a lovely young woman who is courageous and determined.  I say that because her culture almost expects young woman of her age to be married and on child one or two by the ripe young age of twenty.  Her twin is already married and enjoying life in Israel so it is not without confidence and chutzpah that Leigh embarked on a journey to be true to her gift from G-d and her desire to use that gift to reach a world.

She is a teacher and living in New York, is surrounded by a colorful cast of characters that I am sure infused her imagination as she huddled in her apartment to write into the wee hours.  She sent me her draft and at my first reading of a few pages, I knew she was onto something wonderful.  My recent candidacy for local office prevented me from diving in before her printing deadline and I decided her work was worth me having the real thing in my hand.  An e-book would not do this justice and my older eyes could not savor the characters on the Kindle alone.

Not to be disappointed, my copy came in the mail on the last day of school.  My little ones were jumping up and down with glee that I received a package and on Friday when I opened it, I was also jumping up and down to hold in my hands the dreams of someone who has become dear to me.

Shattered Illusions is blowing all expectations, has already sold out! It is a fantastic debut novel and is so well-written.  This book captures your attention from the first sentence.  It flows so smoothly, like a latte in the morning.  It a wonderful read.

With a maturity beyond her years, Leigh has fully realized an eclectic cast of characters that each has an authentic voice in this murder mystery set in who-ever-heard-of-small-town-Louisiana. I can close my eyes and see the "twenty six miles" that make it up and as an avid coffee queen, would lament the only coffee shop in town.  I am intrigued and taken in and spent Sunday at the pool devouring half this book.

Summer is unofficially kicking off and some of you are thinking what can you do.  Read Shattered Illusions by Leigh Hershkovich.  It will not disappoint.

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