Sunday, July 1, 2018

Book Review: Miro by A.E. Nasr

A Powerful Story, An Elegant Style…And Some Discord Between Them 

Miro boasts a compelling plot.  An occupying army brutalizes a nation, some of the conquered trying to become invisible to their oppressors to make a living…or even joining with them.  Some resist in secret, hoping to eventually throw off the bonds of tyranny.  Still others just try to survive.  Miro and his companions – the Captain, Alex, Aidan, and Markus – are part of the latter group, imprisoned and tortured for nine years until events give them a second chance at freedom.  And be forewarned – some of this action is intense and brutal.

But even as powerful as this storyline is, it is the prose that sets Miro apart.  The book is elegantly written, the scenes evocative, the characters nuanced.  It explores some of the extremes of human existence that can only be found in the hostile and unforgiving setting of war – courage, betrayal, brotherhood, hope.  Clearly, words are the friend of author A.E. Nasr.

In places, there is some discord between style and story.  With such evocative prose, the transitions from thought to reality can blur easily.  More than once I found myself returning to an earlier paragraph, realizing that what was being recounted was not a dream, not the demon of a former battle or the fantasy of an earlier time, but events in the here and now.  Some of that intertwining of real and imagined may have been intentional – a character’s past influences how he reactions.  But at other times, it seemed that a transition was missing, resulting in my pause.

Overall, melding the ‘nuts and bolts’ of action and the elegance of literary fiction is not an easy task.  With only few exceptions, Miro does it extremely well.

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