Blog Book Tour | “True East” by Raymond Ahrens

Posted Monday, 23 October, 2017 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

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Acquired Book By: I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.

I received a complimentary copy of “True East” direct from the publicist of Raymond Ahrens in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Blog Book Tour | “True East” by Raymond AhrensTrue East

Katy Givens, thirty and brilliant, learns in a static-filled phone call that her husband Andrew is missing in the Amazon and possibly dead. Although still mourning the death of their infant son, Katy flies to Brazil in search of Andrew, discovering that the man she married has secrets. As the mysteries surrounding Andrew’s disappearance mount, so does the list of shadowy forces benefitting from the recent discovery of oil in the Amazon.

Katy’s field of genetic anthropology proves useful when accounts of the Unnamed Ones, a primitive and possibly pre-human tribe, are rumored to exist in the same valley as the oil reserves. Katy tracks Andrew through the jungle, deciphering riddles he left before disappearing. Along the way, she barters with a Jewish coin merchant, challenges chance with a fortune teller, and argues the merits of prayer with a Jesuit priest, before placing her faith with the indigenous Tadi.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781934690864

on 15th July, 2017

Pages: 390

Published By: Tasora Books

Available Formats: Paperback & Ebook

Converse via: #LiteraryFiction

About Raymond Ahrens

Raymond Ahrens is curious. As a scientist, father, and novelist, he peers under the surface to discover what contradictions lie beneath. His genre of “mythic-realism” synthesizes both the rational and the mythic to arrive at a different way of seeing. His first novel, Drive, explores an old man’s perspective in both a real and imagined world filled with mysteries, myths, and memories. He lives in Newton, MA and Del Ray Beach, FL.

my review of true east:

The heightened frequency of inaction vs action is what you notice first as you start to settle into ‘True East’ as we’re entering into the life of a woman who has decided to ‘stop living’ after the loss of her child. Between then and now is a lifetime of unknowns – her husband is currently ‘missing’ on assignment (he’s a photojournalist for a magazine) whilst his company is glib about where he is and what he is doing wherever ‘that is’ as well. Her instincts (Katy’s) tell her to go to the last known ‘place’ her husband was last seen or known to have been headed (in this case, it’s Brazil) but just as quickly as deciding to exit a house she hasn’t left in ages – she comes to the fuller realisation not everything in their marriage was equally disclosed. At first, you feel for her – truly, as she barters for time with his boss to see if the ‘unknown’ variable was an affair, having sorted it wasn’t – the truth wasn’t much better – as it involves the conspiracies around the oil trade in South America.

At one point your trying to sort through what you’ve just learnt, seeing how the pieces fit together and how this heightened sense of ‘flight to fight’ is going to work in Katy’s favour when she seems to have forgotten she’s been inactive for a bit too long. She’s been clinically depressed and removed herself out of her active life in the field; opting instead to write from the comfort of her home, an illusion in of itself for a travel writer who never travels. The pacing is taut – everything is exploding in front of you all at once – almost as though you barely have time to ‘pause’ to assemble how everything fits together before your jettisoning off to Brazil alongside Katy!

Then, right in the midst of feeling you can understand where Katy is in this moment of despair she’s given the option for a cheap one night stand with her shrink which ‘felt off’ to me in the scene where it happened. Yes, she’s vulnerable and yes she’s not thinking clearly with the medication she’s been taking since we landed on page one of this novel – she’s had more pills in her system than I think are healthy to consider possible for a woman in her condition – however, more to the point, I couldn’t think of why she had to have this devastating ‘moment’ arrive in her life just ahead of her trip to Brazil? The point escaped me. What I didn’t like even more was how insidious the shrink was for his part – he only wanted want he could take from her and he leveraged an advantage against her using her own therapy sessions against the will of her own heart.

The story is unfolding from one bad moment to the next before there is any hope for treading water towards even a small measure of restitution or resolution to her problems. You feel the full weight of ‘everything’ Katy is going through as if the weight alone is enough to crush her; flatten her spirit and not have an ounce left to survive the rest of what is yet to happen. It was here, in this moment where I wondered how the premise of the story and the texture of how the story was being told felt in conflict with each other. The writing is solid – I’ll give you that, but I was finding myself unwilling to attach into this world because of how it all felt ‘orchestrated’ to work against Katy. Almost as if she had no will of her own and everyone was out to manipulate her or to confuse her perception of what she knew as the truth. It’s a hard novel to get involved in because everything keeps changing – from one paragraph to the next chapter, the whole universe in this novel is at odds with itself.

When more is revealled about the nature of what is going on – in the world and in her life – it’s hard to find a reason to stay tethered to learning more about what Katy will find once she lands in Brazil. She is far more hardened than I gave her credit for at first – she is willing to do anything to secure the answer to an enquiry whilst she doesn’t put a lot of empathsis on her own well-being. She’s not the kind of woman who would feel she should protect herself first and get help second – she’d be the one who took on the danger untoward of what it would mean to her personally, just to get further ahead towards what she was seeking.

After about a quarter of the way through, I lost the joy of reading the story. One thing I had an issue with is how intense the information is revealled in the novel – you get so much information to digest and before you can even assert the order in which all of it is necessary on one scale to remember against the new information you don’t have yet; your already ‘moved on’ to something else. Or perhaps the truth is for me, this novel just felt muddling. I couldn’t navigate myself through it all – Katy wasn’t an easy character to settle your mind around either. You think you understand her but she morphs a bit in front of you before you can feel like you understand her motivations.

The key to the back-story is the process of understanding our Anthropological heritage – on a very bone to blood and DNA layer of insight – however, even this, wasn’t holding my attention as much as I had hoped it might because it was surrounded by the overwhelming dire circumstances facing those who live in the Amazon Rain Forest. I’ve known about the deforestation since I was in grade school and the wrecking havoc of cattle on rain forest land – however, to further erode the beauty of this part of the world, is the greed of man trying to take everything he can away from a region which cannot be redeveloped or reproduced once it is ‘gone’. Due to my previous understandings about the Amazon region – trying to re-layer this new information ontop of the old was jarring. If anything, the novel proves how worse things are getting and how unfortunate it is mankind has still felt destruction and the spirit of conquering what he does not yet own is the best way forward towards progress.

In short, my heart just wasn’t into reading more of what was ‘to come’. This story wasn’t my cuppa and hopefully it found traction with those readers who saw something I didn’t in the context of the story being told. Initially, the reason I wanted to read this novel was due to this takeaway I had from reading the synopsis:

I liked the interesting plot behind this story – also of the newfound race of humans inasmuch as the drama behind one woman’s mysteriously unknown husband; not quite the person she felt she married but with a twist involving the oil trade! I thought it might be a good read – especially if the author fuses everything together between her quest for answers, her discovery of her husband’s secreted truths and how this unknown group of people fit together on the path she’s exploring to find clues about what happened (all the way around).

Unfortunately for me, the journey I embarked on wasn’t quite the one I thought the novel would reveal – here, I was expecting an introspective literary excursion but felt like there were too many tangents being explored than what would be merited to feel ‘natural’ and ‘encompassing’ for how the novel was written. In some ways, I wish this had less political / oil overtures and had focused more on the native culture and tribes which were hidden from sight from regular society – if there had been a stronger foothold in Anthropological research, where the ‘science’ led the narrative, I might have felt more inclined to read it start to finish. To me, this was the greater ‘truth’ than what muddled the characters’ lives and re-instated a different ‘plot’.

Fly in the Ointment: Vulgarity in Lit

The language choices took me off-guard a smidge because generally, when I find stronger language in fiction it has it’s own time clock of appearance – generally, a bit after you’ve settled into the reason why the character your following has a captivating back-story to latch onto but usually not prior to feeling attached into the narrative. Here, the language spilts and spurs quite haphazardly in the initial chapters even before you gather your bearings for the style, tone and manner of how the story is going to be told through the eyes of the author. You don’t to dig your heels into the context before your flickering through various words which rankle this literary girl’s nose.

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who picked up the same story to read.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “True East”, book synopsis, author biography, and the tour badge were all by Poetic Book Tours and used with permission. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna  and the Comment Box Banner.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Monday, 23 October, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Ancient Civilisation, Blog Tour Host, Indie Author, Literary Fiction, Modern Day, Poetic Book Tours, Seclusion in the Natural World

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