Has anyone heard of the author Steven Barnes? His books always seem to land on my lap in times of dire crisis. In 2003 I picked up his book: Lion's Blood. A twisted tale on history, where the Africans ruled the world and enslaved all else. He is an author that takes extreme care at researching the historical and anthropological contexts of his stories. So much so that it is hard to remember the book is fiction; or maybe one wants to believe the book is reality. His books usually have a dramatic impact on my thinking about the world for months, even years. Lion's Blood threw me in a desparate search for meaning for several months. Of course it didn't help that I had just read Sidharta months earlier and just finished diwan al mutanabi months before that. Each of those books telling stories spanning several generations where time is the only winner.
A few weeks ago, I went out looking for his newest book: Great Sky Woman. A bit pricy at $25 but I still purchased it. It coincided with the tragedy of Lebanon just as his earlier book coincided with the occupation of Iraq. Once again, the story left tidal waves thrashing me against my own consciousness. A phase of searching that I had thought part of the past quickly sprang to life again. His is a deliberate effort to elevate you from your world and challenges you to ask the question you never dared ask; the desire you never dared voice; to feel that pure yearning for the creator; a yearning unaffected by the myths so common in our life; a kind of 'what-if' world where you challenge the rules, then embrace them only to challenge them again, and then embrace them. A constant cycle of belief and disbelief where a product of tragedy and hope is the only common denominator.
I'd recommend the book to anyone that has some spare time this summer.