About the author:
Timothy Jay Smith is an American author. His ceaseless wanderlust that took him around the world many times brought him unparalleled experiences, which in turn affected the breadth and sensibility of his work. He continues to collect short stories while splitting his time between Paris, Greece and Miami Beach. The same energy that makes him travel, he brings to his writing.
Cover and blurb:
Not sure what attracted me in the cover, which is a simple one, but there is something in it. The description promised a war thriller and lots of interesting, diverse characters. I felt that was a genre I could read on Kindle, given my slow reading speed.
War books are something I think before I take. A war thriller, and a Kindle copy at that, I did think a moment more before I agreed. In retrospect now, I feel that extra moment was unnecessary. The book was quite a wonderful read, and I take something out of it. I think any book, if it brings you something more than a story, is a good one.
We start in Jerusalem, the people headed for prayers, and the security a little more tight than it usually would be. We are taken through the Old City first through the eyes of David Kessler, a journalist, who is stopped by a soldier, then through Issa, a shopkeeper and his father-in-law Azzedine. We’re taken to the mosque, and we hear the mullah’s speech before soldiers enter and shots are fired. A bomb explodes. We’re back to David’s eyes as he captures the carnage. We can almost walk with him, see what he sees, feel the beats of his heart. It’s quite visual.
We then look at the scene through the eyes of Major Jakob Levy, who closes the border after the bomb. The closing affects Amin Mousa, who learns even his pass, signed by the Major himself has been revoked because of that incident. We are introduced to Katya, David’s neighbor and her son Joshua, Efrahim who is an old painter and storyteller and then the family of the Major, who is reputed in the country and is dubbed the Saint of Sinai.
If you notice, I’m not telling you of the plot or its movements, but some of the various characters that we come across in the book. I’m doing so because I feel, in this instance, the book is more than the plot, it is not only how that moves that makes this a good book, but it is how the characters move you. It’s the energy of David, the journalist, to do what he has to do to get his shot that captured my attention, then his bravery when a young boy falls victim, and of course, his fondness for his neighbour Joshua. It’s the adamancy of the Major that attracts, and the same for his courageous son Mishe who opposes his father’s decisions vehemantly. It’s the dialogues between Issa and David, between Mishe and his father, the interaction between various characters that captures a depth in this novel. It’s a thriller, and I read it like I would any fiction. But it still makes me ponder more about characters, and their actions. I don’t feel it’s easy to write in the given setting either, so that’s another thing I liked.
In this case, the positive also becomes a negative. When we’re taken through the viewpoints of many characters, the narration becomes a tad confusing, a tad slow. It works to the most part, but not completely. It’s a heavy read though it’s a thriller. And that heaviness isn’t changed by the ending, which feels hopeful but doesn’t carry through after the read ends.
Did I love it? Yes. I did. If there was a paperback of the same, it’d be on the bookshelf with some of my favorites.
Title: A Vision of Angels
Author: Timothy Jay Smith
Publishers: Owl Canyon Press via Amazon
Price on Amazon: INR 295
(Oct 2nd, 2013)