When BlogHer offered me the opportunity to take part in a book review program, I jumped right at it without even reading what the book in question was about. Stephen Dau’s The Book of Jonas arrived in the mail and I read the synopsis on the cover- the story takes place during an American war in an unspecified Middle Eastern country. To be honest, this was not my subject matter of choice, as my husband is in the Army and has had to experience war first hand. However, after reading the first few pages, I was drawn into the story and knew that this was going to be an incredibly good tale.
In Dau’s debut novel, he tells the story of three people mostly from a third person perspective. There is little dialogue. Each story is connected to the others and they are carefully intertwined. The book focuses mainly on the life of Younis- or Jonas- an orphan from a war torn country who has lost everything during an American raid on his village, is rescued and taken to the US to start a new life. We also learn about Christopher through diary entries and find out that he is the US soldier who rescues Jonas. Rose is Christopher’s mother, the third main character in the book, and we are shown what her life is like with a son who is MIA.
The chapters are relatively short and the language is easy to read because of its pleasant flow. It is a very engaging book, difficult to put down. Throughout the story, there are elements of a mystery that is only completely revealed at the end.
It is the best book I have read in a long time. Although the subject matter is difficult, it is definitely worth reading and shows the reader three different sides to the same story. Since Younis’ country of origin is not specified, it is a book that universally conveys the tragedies and consequences of war.
Come and join the BlogHer discussion of this wonderful novel here.
This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club, but the opinions expressed are my own.