THE WAYFARER When her brother is murdered, Jessie isn't able to cry for him. She has no tears. Rage chokes her, and a desire to see the murderer die. Until that moment Jessie lived a good life with her husband, in a comfortable Tiburon apartment overlooking the Golden Gate. Her career, too, flourished. A journalist, she has a column dedicated to women. From around the world they email their problems and their tragedies. When Zeb dies, she gives up everything and closes out everyone. There is a person she can't give up. Even through her grief she finds herself worrying about her cyber-friend Amitha in Sri Lanka. Amitha's American schooling places her between worlds, and she cannot find a place in either. The two young women bond. But communication breaks off. Has Amitha been swallowed by jungle, by people who worship an elephant tooth? By the Tamil Tigers? Concern for her friend prompts Jessie to think of her own loss in a new way. Her brother appears to her, to become her spirit guide. He encourages her, not to pick up her old life but to embark on a new one, a quest. "At the last day," he quotes, "you will not be asked,'Why were you not Moses?' You may be asked, 'Why were you not Jessie?'" As the book unfolds, we hear Amitha's story, we hear others: the grandmother in Bogota who searches for a "disappeared one"; the African gynecologist working for WHO to combat the inhumane custom of infibulation; a Palestinian girl from the West Bank trained as a suicide bomber. The quest Zeb sends her on confronts, addresses, and at times plunges her into problems of our global world, which turn personal and take over her life. This book was conceived in part because of the many letters the author has received from five continents. We are all connected today, all responsible.
Literature & Fiction, Contemporary,