Tuesday, 16 October 2012

My Gun Was As Tall As Me by Toni Davidson

Review by The Mole

"High in the Alps, Tuvol, the son of a great European humanitarian, crawls into a snow hole in a deliberate attempt to die. On the other side of the world, in the stifling heat of a South East Asian jungle, twin boys, Lynch and Leer - robbed of speech at birth by a mother unhinged by atrocity - await yet another military assault on their decimated village. Saved from suicide by Dominique, an NGO worker, Tuvol leaves his dysfunctional family, following her to South East Asia to try and find purpose helping those maimed, orphaned and displaced by a brutal regime. As Tuvol and the twins both flee their very different personal traumas, fate will draw them together in a way that changes all three lives forever."

Normally I would  write a short synopsis of my own but in this case there are so many themes running through the book it's difficult to choose which one I would write it around. Tuvol's story, which in itself is a tale to tell, becomes entwined with the story of his mother and tells the story of Espirit, his father, who is highly thought of, internationally as a great charity worker - but is that the real Espirit? Who is the real Tuvol? And Dominique, working away with the IDPs (Internally Displaced Person), hearing tales and seeing the product of horror and ensuring the wounded are cared for - surely the story is about such people? Or Ruess, the journalist, trying to get people to understand what is really happening during these conflicts rather than the safe, clinical journalism that we tend to see? Or the boys who bring all these threads together with their own story of horror and isolation from birth through to the end of the book. But not the end of the story for many of these characters - not all the threads are 'tidied up' because as with real life, the story continues after we leave the characters in the book.

This story is one that will make you think and, if like me, you think you can no longer be shocked by man's inhumanity to man then you may be surprised by what you read. You won't be condemning the horrors as impossible but as wholly likely and horrific.

'Enjoyed' is once again the wrong word but 'compulsive reading'? For me, yes. A book I am glad I have read. Some of the horrors are close to graphic but bring home a point and while there is 'love interest' it's not significant and it's not out of context - in fact it's context makes some very valid points.

It reads almost as biographical and as it's based on extensive research it can almost be read as such, lacking any superheroes as it does.

Publisher - Freight Books
Genre - Adult War Novel

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