the first newspaper review of the book - Chico Enterprise Record
on August 3, 2006
File Book Review: Corning writer offers novel about Iraq told
through young eyes
by Dan Barnett, Book Reviewer at the Chico Enterprise-Record
Dynan is a runner, artist and the Peace and Freedom Party candidate
for the 2nd District of the California State Assembly (a post
now held by Richvale Republican Doug LaMalfa).
also a novelist, and his just-published work, "Brother Eagle,
Sister Moon" ($12.95 in paperback or $4.69 download at www.lulu.com),
tells two stories of modern day Iraq from the viewpoint of 12-year-old
Yussef and his 16-year-old sister Nadia.
author will appear at Lyon Books in Chico at 3 p.m. Saturday
for a book signing.
Corning resident bills his book as a young adult title. Though
there are a few salty words the subject matter -- the war in
Iraq and Nadia's being forced into prostitution -- is generally
handled with discretion. Dynan says his writing enables him
to express in gentle form his sympathy toward Iraqis as well
as British and American troops. Dynan himself is harshly critical
of the Bush Administration but his novel focuses instead on
the friendship of the two siblings with Blackhawk helicopter
pilot Sergeant Ernesto Alvarez of the 101st Airborne, the "Screaming
finds himself separated from his large family and befriends
an orphan goat whom he names "Tenika" after one of his sisters.
"Yussef and Tenika spent almost 11 weeks together -- walking
the plains, searching the hills and waterholes of Southwestern
Iraq. ... They lived from the land, ate dates, berries and grass,
and took water and milk where they could find it. They became
friends. ... They had 'grown up' together and become young adults.
Although they missed their parents ... they had learned to live
within the boundaries of their world. ... They lived in harmony
with each other and the beasts and other living things that
the pair stumbles upon a city, a "sea of humans," in which insurgents
hold workers from Doctors Without Borders. Here, Yussef meets
Dr. Yvette Prigent and he must mount a courageous effort to
take a message to Red Crescent officials for help. He also meets
Alvarez, who is about to propose to Prigent, and the pilot is
willing to divert his helicopter to help Yussef find his parents.
Things do not go well.
somehow all the harrowing adventures lead to a good end. Along
the way there is a healer, called the Ancient One, who touches
the sergeant's wounds. He peers inside Alvarez's dreams and
carves something on a piece of shrapnel taken from the pilot's
arm. Finally, Yussef is reunited with his family.
Alvarez returns to the family to ask Nadia for an extraordinary
favor. He wants her to return to Samarra, to the kidnappers
who had forced her into prostitution. They have taken several
hostages, among them Dr. Prigent, and Nadia needs to guide the
forces to rescue those abducted. Nadia undergoes intensive training
in handling a gun and defending herself and eventually the chief
kidnaper meets his end at the hands of a Fijian sharpshooter
stationed with British troops.
"Brother Eagle, Sister Moon" struck me as kind of a fairy-story
since at the beginning the reader is privy to some of the goat's
thoughts. Yet as the novel progresses there is more realism
-- though perhaps surrealism is the better term. There are no
answers here to the larger conflict, only hints that one day,
perhaps, even people can live "in harmony with each other."
Barnett teaches philosophy at Butte College. To submit review
copies of published books, please send e-mail to email@example.com.
Columns are archived at http://dielbee.blogspot.com.
is the first Review I received. Hari Conner is a teen (student)
living in London and has
her own cool website, too. I've never met Hari in person,
but we internet-met due to our mutual interest in Art.
Eagle Sister Moon
starts off as a nice, if quite normal, story about a boy trying
to find his parents. Throughout the course of the book though,
things that are hinted at become more significant, and the plot
blossoms into something more intriguing and less ordinary. It
is still quite a basic SToRY if you get down to it, but the way
it is written, and the way the sub-plots develop around it is
what makes the book so extraordinary.
of writing is addictive, to start with. I started reading it at
about four o clock and had finished it later that evening. In
the first couple of sentences the scene is set and the boy is
already alone in the desert without his family... the book moves
very quickly. In some books there are less intresting sections
and I feel like they're only there to suggest the passing of time,
or something. In "Brother Eagle, Sister Moon" every
sentence has been constructed carefully so that all of them suit
the mood perfectly. There isn't an unnecessary word.*
In a lot
of books there's less attention to detail in the minor characters.
They have obvious, simple goals and feelings and tend to be less
convincing. In this book all the characters have much deeper motivations.
They all have their own reasons for being in Iraq, realistic pasts,
and clever links with others in the book.
some really beautiful descriptions, too, and subtle things that
really make a difference, and set the scene. For example, it doesn't
go on about how hot it is, but the way other things are described
you can tell: people sleeping in the heat of the day, animals
gathering at watering-holes, and the descriptions of the desert.
All the little things all add up to a wonderful image and stunning
setting for the story.
things? The blurb is too long.
used to think that there were so many books worth reading, re-reading
a book would only be time wasted where I could be reading another
book. I didn't think there'd be a book that was really perfect
enough that it would be just as interesting the second time around.
I'd never read a book twice before, but I've started this one
to this review... which waffles on an awful lot and doesn't really
make any of the points i want it to