Random House, 2008 (2008)
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Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle
yra, the main character of the novel by that name by Carol Gilligan, is a young woman who suffered terrible losses of those she loved about ten years before the book begins. Her husband was shot and killed in front of her by her half brother, and her parents disappeared not long after that, presumably also killed during the civil war in Cyprus in the nineteen seventies. She escaped with her older sister Anna to the United States, and is now an architect working at a university as well as designing a city on a privately owned and previously uninhabited island.
er life is happy and full, but she doesn't allow herself to fall in love again, continuing to mourn Simon, her dead husband, until she meets Andreas. Andreas is a widower who has experienced much the same sort of loss as Kyra. When he escaped from the political upheaval in his country, his father and son escaped with him, but his wife was lost, and like Kyra, he has not been able to recover from her untimely death. Kyra and Andreas are drawn to each other by their shared pasts and they are also both artistic people, as Andreas is a theater director who specializes in opera.
hese are two modern, well-educated, career-driven people who love their jobs. Falling in love with each other presents problems for both of them, since Andreas' job is in Budapest and Kyra's is in the United States. They are strongly attracted to each other, and for one wonderful summer, they put aside all thoughts of the future and simply love each other. When the inevitable parting occurs, Kyra is devastated and nearly destroyed. Her ensuing therapy becomes the center of this story, as she struggles to understand her feelings about love, loss, and survival.
is a beautifully written book with main characters who are intensely alive, particularly Kyra, her sister Anna, Andreas, and the therapist, Greta. If I have a criticism, it's a small complaint that Kyra had too many friends, and I had a little trouble keeping track of them all. They all played their parts in the story, but many of these characters have very small roles, and it's difficult to tell which ones will appear again and be important to the story, so I found myself looking back frequently to remind myself who someone was. That said, I did thoroughly enjoy this intense and interesting book.
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