Fiction — print. Random House, 2007. 256 pgs. Library copy.
Nadine Morgan travels the world as a journalist, covering important events, following dangerous leads, and running form anything that might tie her down. Since an assignment in Cape Town ended in tragedy and regret, Nadine has not returned to South Africa or opened her heart-until she hears the story of Jason Irving.
Jason, an American student, was beaten to death by angry local youths at the height of the apartheid era. Years later, his mother is told that Jason’s killers had applied for amnesty. Jason’s parents pack their bags and fly from Nantucket to Cape Town. Filled with rage, Jason’s mother resolves to fight the murderers’ pleas for forgiveness.
As Nadine follows the Irvings to beautiful, ghost-filled South Africa, she is flooded with memories of a time when the pull toward adventure and intrigue left her with a broken heart. Haunted by guilt and a sense of remorse, and hoping to lose herself in her coverage of the murder trial, Nadine grows closer to Jason’s mother as well as to the mother of one of Jason’s killers-with profound consequences. In a country both foreign and familiar, Nadine is forced to fact long-buried demons, come to terms with the missing pieces of her own family past, and learn what it means to truly forgive and to forget.
A while back, A Garden Carried in the Pocket was giving away a copy of Ward’s novel. The story sounded interesting and I immediately signed up. I didn’t win but when i saw it at the library, I snapped it up.
It’s hard to put into words how much I enjoyed this novel. I don’t think the fact that just the main character is a journalist swayed my decision, but it probably helped.
“Ten years after Nadine’s departure, South Africa was tasting a fragile peace. The city before Nadine had changed completely, and yet her was Nadine, still alone, still running, the same.” (pg. 112)
The story is heart-wrenching and gripping. I read the whole thing on the airplane ride home from Anaheim. It’s surprising and often threw me for a loop. One of my favorite things from this book was the Nantucket to Stardom pieces, but I won’t ruin it for you by telling you why I was surprised.