Shattered by his wife’s death, and by his own role in it, successful cardiologist Charles Anderson volunteers to assist with earthquake relief in an impoverished Islamic country in a constant state of conflict with its neighbor. But when the refugees he’s come to help do not appear and artillery begins to fall in the distance along the border, the story takes an unexpected turn.
This haunting, resonant tour de force about one man’s desire to live a moral life offers a moving exploration of the tensions between poverty and wealth, the ethics of intervention, the deep cultural differences that divide the world, and the essential human similarities that unite it.
Right of Thirst is a bit different from my normal reading fare, and that’s a good thing. It’s not often that I read books that tackle current world events. Author Frank Huyler explores a few different topics: doctor-assisted suicide, the conflict between India and Pakistan (though the countries are never named, it is implied that these are the countries in question), and whether or not Western aid in disaster zones is truly needed or wanted. Watching Dr. Anderson struggle with these challenges was engrossing and thought-provoking.
I have to say, from reading the synopsis on the back cover, I thought this would be an action-packed novel. But the focus of this novel really was more on character development, and I actually think it was a pretty interesting little trick by Huyler. Like the characters waiting for refugees to come along, I was waiting for the action to begin, and it was disconcerting when it never quite got off the ground.
I’d definitely recommend this novel to people looking for a novel grounded in reality.
Thank you to Stephanie at Harper for sending me this book to review.
(summary taken from the back cover)
Rating: 4.5 stars
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