Michael Helm: Cities of Refuge

R Kim an bsession Helm s prose is layered and searching and profoundly intellectual and the moral imperative at work here is urgent and affecting But what s ften missing is drama action that could I m not sure if I liked this book that much It started ff fantastic and by the middle and end I thought it got lost in the weeds Some The Taste of Spruce Gum of the characters and storylines Rodrigo went no where and I m not sure why they were there Kim is stalked by her attacker but that doesn t go anywhere either It s almost like this book isn t finished The sentences were very smart the storytelling was not This author is so in love with hiswn life philosophy he just couldn t get ut f his story s way I wish the editor had reigned him in and cut about 60 pages from this novel It would have done a world She Stoops to Conquer of good Yes actually a favorite among some wonderful books that I ve read in the past yearr so I just loved reading a story set in Toronto Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile onef the most international cities in the world with protagonists including refugees asylum seekers those who work with them And the long aftermath Orb of mysterious violence suffered by a female character And many uestionsf ethics memory empathy And The Dandy and Lady Penelope one character s well shrouded past in Santiago de Chilen that country s 911 Sept 11 1973 the coup that brought Augusto Pinochet to power ushered in long terrible violence I watched the movie No just after finishing this book the timing was fantasticIt s a very interior book much attention to the inner processes f several main characters So some would find it too slow uncertain But it fed me very deeply Picked this up at the library never had heard f author Young woman in Toronto volunteering to work with illegal immigrants is attacked at night Manages to fight Multi-Family Therapy off attacker but is injured during the attack The book is an accountf her recovery her relationship with her parents and theirs with her and each National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 7th Edition other Took some effort to get into the book somef it the father s ragedeep suspicion f. R by returning to the night in writing searching for harbingers f the incident and clues to the identity f her assailant The attack also torments Kim's father Harold an historian f Latin America As he investigates the crime A History of Prophecy in Israel, Revised and Enlarged on hiswn the darkest hours from his past revisit him and he gradually begins to unravel Entwined in their story are Kim’s ailing mother Marian; Father André Rowe whose mission to guide thers involves him in a decision with troubling conseuences; Rodrigo Cantero a young Colombian man living il.

This is a wonderful complex book that explores the types f refuges we seek be they cultural personal One, Two, Three Me or emotional A young woman is attacked in the first chapterf the book and this attack becomes the pebble thrown in the lake causing ever widening circles f response An interesting mind is at work here exploring fear and most f all for me the ambiguities within which we all manage to live The language is lovely thoughtful Highly recommended This is a got to work at it book The narrative is relatively straightforward and I won t bother to explain the premise Sex and Lust in Tijuana: True Sex Stories of the Tjamigos of the book you can read a synopsis inther reviews and n the book page n Goodreads The prose though is rich and complex and the ideas that are explored are interesting and thought provoking Overall I liked but didn t love This novel is set in Toronto and the title alludes to the various cities that exist for different people Kim is a woman in her late twenties who has rejected the life Tea for Ruby of academic historian her father planned for her She works a night security shift at the ROM and volunteers at GROUND anrganization that assists refugees One night The Life of Saint Philip Neri on her way to work Kim is attacked and the attacker isn t identifiedr caught She deals with this trauma by gradually venturing ut into the night again by writing about a man she imagines to be her attacker and in trying to dredge any information from her memory f the attack to assist in identification Kim s mother is ill and gradually failing and Kim moves back in with her and her stepfather to assistHer Helm s novel begins with a powerful and wrenching scene f violence that catches the reader by surprise as much as it does the victim a young woman named Kim Lystrander Kim s assault n a dark Toronto side street has repurcussions far beyond her I only Like the Fingers of the Guy I Hate, Vol. 1 own trauma and pulls her deep into a worldf ghosts people living in the country illegally her dying mother and her wayward guilt stricken father Harold a historian The Whistle Pig of Latin America whose hazy past becomes fo. In Citiesf Refuge Michael Helm’s keenly anticipated new novel a single act f violence resonates through several lives connecting closeby fears to distant political terrors At the story’s centre is the complex intensely charged relationship between a 28 year ld woman and the father who abandoned her when she was young            One summer night n a side street in downtown Toronto Kim Lystrander is attacked by a stranger Thrown deep into turmoil in the weeks and months that follow she confronts her fea.

The immigrants who are seen as victims by his daughter didn t seem at all logical r real to me for much Church Planting Is for Wimps: How God Uses Messed-Up People to Plant Ordinary Churches That Do Extraordinary Things of the book For example he turns inne immigrant to the authorities which just didn t seem to fit But eventually we learn A Stepdaughter In Heat of his secret from his youth involving having lived in Santiago Chile during the coup against Allende And it all makes sense and becomes very meaningful especially this week as uestions are being raised about the new Pope s actions during the dirty war in Argentina So I ended up finding the book very intriguing and moving I put myselfut f my misery at page 141 Life is too short to read such a boring book Cities f Refuge Rufus opens with a single actf violence that casts a dark net around the lives f the Lystrander family and their closest companions One summer night n a familiar route to work Kim is attacked by a stranger She survives but she suffers for months from the physical pain You Are a Miserable Excuse for a Hero!: Book One in the Just Make a Choice! Series of recovery and from the psychological damage etched forcibly into her Her estranged father Harold unravels in the aftermath and leads an investigation against Kim s assailant that is wrought with hiswn delusions As he immerses himself in the purgatorial world f Toronto s illegal immigrants Harold dredges up his wn troubled past and relives the violence he thought he had buried A sense Women and Social Work: Towards a Woman-Centered Practice of listlessness and suspicion pervades this novel and Michael Helm handles his characters with great care and compassion despite the unsettling material After the shockf the pening pages the novel settles into a deep exploration f both Kim and Harold excavating their inner lives to analyze the ways in which individuals heal The Cowboys or shatter after tragic events Kim s authorial role in her healing process is a compellingne especially as her wn prose hijacks the novel s narrative at certain key momentsIdeal for Scholarly types who gravitate toward thrillers andor violent mysteries Writers studying internal character development Readers who like thorough internalized prose. Legally in the city; and Rosemary Yates a woman whose faith based belief in the duty to give asylum to any who seek it even those judged guilty draws Harold to her before a fateful choice changes the future for them all             Cities f Refuge is a novel f profound moral tension and luminous prose It weaves a web f incrimination and inuiry where mysteries live within mysteries and stories within stories and the power to save My Grandfather's Prison: A Story of Death and Deceit in 1940s Kansas City or condemn rests in the forcesf history and in the realm f ur deepest longin.

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