A Land Without Sin

Paula Huston. Wipf & Stock/Slant, $27 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-1-62032-658-9
Eva Kovic is a war photographer whose brother Stefan, a priest, has disappeared amid revolutionary unrest in southern Mexico in 1993. She goes to find him but hides her mission by taking a job as a photographer with a Dutch archeologist who specializes in the Maya. Both Eva and the Mayanist are not what they seem, and their stories unroll in Central American jungles, crossing time and continents as Eva's family history and the archeologist's wife become key parts of the narrative tapestry. Eva is a hard case, slow to reveal anything but toughness; her absent brother is present in the narrative through his letters that Eva reads, so the emotional foothold offered readers is small at first. But the story deepens slowly, and its themes of war and family are profound and insistent, with tenacious hope eventually gaining a foothold. Huston (Daughters of Song) reels the reader in slowly, with subtle characterization and small clues planted early. A wonderful book for church book clubs; Huston takes God, the burden of history, and religion's big questions seriously. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/19/2013
Release date: 08/01/2013
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