4 out of 4 stars
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A Fist Full of Earth by Pavel Kozhevnikov is an interesting novel consisting of two separate stories. Each story is full of passion and emotion. Each story is unique and independent of the other. Both stories are well-written and emotional to read. The author covers many different topics in each of the stories including love, loss and redemption. Both stories involve life in the Soviet Union and include details about life in that country that are interesting and informative for the reader.
In the first story, the main character, Pavel, meets George on the beach in Hawaii. George and Pavel are from the same town in the Soviet Union and their chance meeting is overwhelming for them both. They spend the day talking about the town where they are from and the changes that have taken place there. George is a much older man and spends the day relaying his life story to Pavel. George tells a fascinating story about leaving his homeland and moving to the United States where he works as a boxer with a promising career. He then describes his involvement in a bank robbery and his eventual life as a business man in Hawaii. He also tells an emotional love story that lovely to read. He asks Pavel for a favor if he ever returns to their homeland. He would like some soil so that he could have a handful of native earth when his time comes. The second story in the novel is told from the point of view of a child about his beloved dog. He describes his love for his dog and the hardship of his family to have the additional expense of a dog during difficult economic times. The story is heart-breaking and beautiful to read.
I really enjoyed reading both stories. Most of the book focuses on the main story about George and the incredible life he has led. The character of George has many layers and is interesting to read. The dialogue is fascinating and kept me engaged in the story. George is a passionate character who gets emotional at times. The author’s writing is so vivid that the reader can feel the emotion as George explains events and regrets in his life. The second story is just as emotional for readers. The story is relatable to many readers because most people have owned a pet at some point in their lives. Readers can sympathize with the emotions of the child as he cares for the dog and worries about his future.
One minor negative aspect of the book was that the majority of the first story is basically a monologue by George conveying his life to the main character. I was caught up in the story which was told so vividly by George and it would be interrupted by a phone call or someone entering the office. This would break up the story and take the reader out of the moment in George’s story. However, this was a minor negative to an otherwise fascinating story and intentional by the author to break up the scene.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about life in other countries or heart-felt life stories. There was some profanity and situations in the book that may not be appropriate for younger readers. I saw a few minor errors in the book, but they did not distract from my enjoyment of the book. I give this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars because both stories were well-written and conveyed a depth of emotion that most readers would find enjoyable.
A Fist Full of Earth
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