Author: David Stringer
Release date: July 27, 2012
What is it like to be a woman so exquisitely beautiful that no one ever really sees her face . . . only the dark emotions it arouses? What is it like to be a man of such physical presence he fears no one? Are these blessings or a curse? Could a woman love such a man? And when his world begins to fall apart, can their love survive the re-ignited violence of his past? Can a man forgive himself for an act that is unspeakable? Can you? Or are their limits to your forgiveness?Islands of the Heart is the story of a tough ex-soldier, Wolf, who has always handled life's problems with his fists. Wolf finds himself drawn into a series of events where that tactic no longer works. Things are mad worse when he cuts a violent swathe through New Zealand and Samoa, desperate to hide secrets from his past.Islands is also the story of the women in his life who love and fear for Wolf, who are damaged by him yet will not close their hearts; who in the end are part of his salvation. Islands is ultimately however a story of the power of forgiveness--of the fact that we still need to forgive those who have wronged us, or forever live lives stunted by the poison of our hatred.
I have a warning to those reading this review: this is not for those who don't like foul language or anything kind of mature, I guess. There is a lot of that. Including multiple droppings of the F-bomb.
There may be spoilers.
Islands of the Heart is an intricately laced story following the lives of characters who have all affected each other's lives in some way. Each of these characters is trying to find something about themselves and each of these characters finds that the old methods of dealing with problems aren't appropriate anymore--things have changed and so have they.
David Stringer does an amazing job interweaving the stories of all his characters throughout the chapters. They changes of point of view are appropriately made and they always reveal so much about the character it's focused on without giving away too much at a time. Each section reveals a new layer of his characters, further complicating each personality. His descriptions were beautiful and his dialogue was witty and real.
" 'America Sneezes and we all get the flu ' " (page 100).
One of the issues that I had while reading this book is the fact that I don't know much about Samoa, Australia, or New Zealand, or about Samoan, Australian, or Maori culture. It was sort of distracting because sometimes it was very difficult to follow the history that they were discussing or the things that they were saying. I also don't know about much in politics. If the characters were affected in anyway because of politics, I wouldn't understand why. There was also some language scattered throughout the book. For example, the question and answer given by Pepe and Steven on page 202:
'O a mai?'Since I don't speak the language, I have no idea if that's a greeting or just a simple question and answer.
'Ua leilei. . .'
However, aside from that, Stringer brings to life wonderful characters through description and action. It's like I'm watching a movie in my head: They feel so real to me. Their backgrounds are well thought out and the actions they take based on their backgrounds are right on point. The best part is that I can really see when their mindset is starting to change. Honestly speaking, they're a wonderful bunch of characters--they're broken in some degree or another--and I love them all equally.
As mentioned above, his description is equally wonderful. When he flashes back to Wolf's army days, I feel like I'm there--in the action. My heart broke for Tania, and I felt calm when descriptions of scenery arose. His descriptions make me want to see the mountains and forest he described in person (and it's something that I've added to my bucket list).
I'm glad to have had the opportunity to read Stringer's novel. It was different from what I've read in a while; it had a different sentence structure, and different way of describing. The difference was much needed and very wonderful. If you like this kind of contemporary literature, then you'll love this novel.
Thank you David for giving me this opportunity!