Author: David Raterman
Title: The River Panj
Target audience: adults
Why I read it: I was contacted by the author and he was kind enough to offer me his book free of charge in exchange for an impartial review. That fact didn’t influence my opinion in any way.
- It was a gripping story with plenty of interesting details. It is obvious the author was there, saw horrible atrocities along with remnants of a great culture and decided to describe them. I am impressed that he knows Russian as it is a difficult language to learn.
- I do agree that relief workers deserve more spotlight, facing really dangerous conditions, getting little recognition until there‘s a war or natural disaster of relevance to Americans and other Westerners. It’s good somebody thought and wrote about them.
- We are shown here really difficult life of different people native of the Central Asia region. Some scenes were really gut-wrenching, like two pregnant women fighting for flour. It was eye-opening and it can put all your problems into a quite new perspective.
- The political situation was described spot-on and the lack of help Derek faced was truly believable. That’s what usually happens when not important people are kidnapped by terrorists.
- Clash of cultures is there, shown from both sides with all the ugly underbelly of human trafficking, drug smuggling and darker sides of American culture.
- The main characters were a bit too two-dimensional – I sympathized with the fate of Derek and Zarina but somehow they failed to move me deeply. I wish they could.
- The narrative voice didn’t manage to keep me riveted to this book although the premise was interesting enough to make me finish it.