Editorial Reviews of The Woman Who Lost Her Soul

Amazon.com Review

woman-lost-soulAn Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2013: In this breathtakingly ambitious work, spanning the globe and many decades, Shacochis has crafted a (mostly) fictional backstory to 9/11, tracing the ancient hatreds that continue to infect history. At the story’s core is Jackie Smith (aka Renee Gardner, aka Dottie Chambers), posing as a photojournalist in late-1990s Haiti, a feral and dangerous place — where Jackie fits right in. Beautiful, heedless, and damaged, Jackie/Renee/Dottie is a man-eater: “Hers would be a slavish cult of eager youth and wicked men.” Among those who fall under her spell are the earnest humanitarian lawyer Tom Harrington and the malleable gung-ho Special Forces operative Eville Burnette, not to mention her Croatian-turned-America father, whose inappropriate attentions add a creepy touch. Lording above all is a group of golf buddies, shadowy puppet masters from the “acronymic spawn” of military and intelligence agencies, whom Shacochis hilarious calls “phallocrats”–”little guys with big d**ks, or at least big d**k syndrome.” From Haitian voodoo dances to World War II Croatian to the first inklings of a group of Arab extremists known as “The Base,” this is a spy thriller engorged into a brilliant reflection on “the cult of millennial revenge.” Inevitably, there will be Graham Greene and Joseph Conrad comparisons. I’d add two Davids to the mix: Lynch and Cronenberg. And though it’s a brick of a book, it rarely slows: transfixing and magical; sexy and lurid; propulsive and unpredictable and quite troubling. Some of the set pieces are unceasingly good, and every line is crafted with obsessive care–no small feat in a 700-page book. Awards judges? Take notice. –Neal Thompson

From Publishers Weeklybob

Starred Review. 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 Carré, 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. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman.

September Readings for Bob

TAMPA, FL
Monday, September 9, 7:00 PM
— Reading & Signing
INKWOOD BOOKS
216 S. Armenia Avenue

CORAL GABLES, FL
Tuesday, September 10, 8:00 PM — Reading & Signing

BOOKS AND BOOKS,
265 Aragon Ave

JACKSON, MS
Wednesday, September 11, 5:00 PM — Reading & Signing

LEMURIA BOOKSTORE
, 202 Banner Hall, 4465 I-55 North

OXFORD, MS
Thursday, September 12, 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

THACKER MOUNTAIN RADIO / SQUARE BOOKS
, 160 Courthouse Square

ASHEVILLE, NC
Friday, September 14, 7:00 PM — Reading & Signing

MALAPROP’S BOOKSTORE,
55 Haywood Street

PHILADELPHIA, PA
Monday, September 16, 7:30 PM
— In conversation with Edwidge Dandicat
FREE LIBRARY OF PHILADELPHIA
, 1901 Vine Street

NEW YORK CITY
Tuesday, September 17, 7:00 PM — In conversation with Colin Harrison
192 BOOKS
, 192 Tenth Avenue

WASHINGTON, DC
Wednesday, September 18, 7:00 PM — Reading & Signing
TENLEY-FRIENDSHIP LIBRARY / POLITICS & PROSE, 4450 Wisconsin Ave NW

NEWTON, MA
Thursday, September 19, 7:00 PM — Reading & Signing

NEWTONVILLE BOOKS
, 10 Langley Road

NEWPORT, RI
Friday, September 20, 6:00 PM — Reading & Signing
SALVE REGINA UNIVERSITY, Bazarsky Lecture Hall, 100 Ochre Point Avenue

NEW ORLEANS, LA
Sunday, September 22, 11:00 AM — “Moveable Feast of Authors”
SOUTHERN INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLERS ASSOCIATION, Sheraton New Orleans

FAIRFAX, VA
Monday, September 23, 6:00 PM — Reading & Signing

FALL FOR THE BOOK FESTIVAL
, George Mason University

DENVER, CO
Monday, September 30, 7:30 PM — Reading & Signing
TATTERED COVER BOOKSTORE, 2526 East Colfax Avenue

To purchase The Woman Who Lost Her Soul from Amazon.com, click on the book cover or the bold book title
— and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance
that will help support our annual writers awards.