Part romance, part mystery, part mythic journey - four stars
As always, do not let my star count override your judgement of content. More on the stars, counting, and my rating challenges later. On to Borg’s story.
Monika Lenz is a successful, fifty, woman with an unsuccessful love life. (If you’ve read other Borg stories, you’ll enjoy the cameo appearance of Edward, the advice-giving Laura, and the recollections of other unsavoury men.) Suffering from both career frustration and career envy, she decides to spend months in a lonely cabin, translating German into English to finance herself. She begins to go downhill almost at once. The story is of her near-death experiences, of which there are several of different kinds.
The writing is full of sparkling lines like this: Monika followed the pleasant sound and found a lively rivulet skipping over moss-covered boulders, unmindful of the passing of time; like a happy child.
Again, you will find passages like this: She glanced at the heat-ravaged slopes flying by, robbed of their soft groundcover by voracious fires, polished by flash floods. These barren hillsides stood fast only for themselves, harsh and unforgiving. Just like city people, she thought.
There is personal insight as well, as in this: An uncomfortable sense of being out of place swept over Monika. She shrank into her overstated clothes and hid her manicured nails in her pockets.
This is writing for adults: All-powerful, avaricious, and secretly horny they— just as Scarpia deceived Puccini’s loyal heroine— had pushed her against the wall or, in her case, against the glass ceiling. Except in her early days, it had been the filing cabinets. There is sex in this story, and as usual with Borg, it is well done and not overly graphic.
Again, Borg’s research and/or background knowledge are impeccable; pretty much everything is exactly correct. On a second reading you will see there was foreshadowing here and there, which set up later actions of Borg’s chief protagonist. This is good writing.
The story is deceptively straightforward. There are unanswered questions. There are relationships of all kinds, some of them strained as Monika travels on her own journey toward the final discovery of self. There is a cabin farther up the road which does or does not exist. There is a pilot who does or does not like Monika. There is a wild animal whose danger level is uncertain; there is a wild-ish man of similar attributes. Again, this is writing for adults, and a fun read.
Back to the stars. My personal guidelines, when doing an ‘official’ KBR review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. In my opinion, Borg just keeps on getting better. Four stars this book easily rates.
Jim Bennett, Kindle Book Review Team member.
(Note: this reviewer received a free copy of this book for an independent review. He is not associated with the author or Amazon.)