Official Review: The Eagle Flies at Night

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joshfee77
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Official Review: The Eagle Flies at Night

Post by joshfee77 » 03 Dec 2018, 04:09

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Eagle Flies at Night" by Jan E. Anderson.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The Eagle Flies at Night by Jan E. Anderson is a novel about immigration and cultural assimilation in America. Reverend Thomas Giles from the Episcopal Church in Portland, Maine, seeks volunteers to board Somali refugees who have migrated to America seeking a better life. Tobey, a young woman from his congregation who works on the switchboard for John's Lobster Trucking, does what she can to help. Thomas and his parishioners organise demonstrations in the park, carrying banners to entreat white people to offer what hospitality they can to the Somalis; ideally, a temporary home. Parishioner Tobey finds herself attracted to Amiele, one of the Somali refugees. Unfortunately, their love could land Amiele in serious trouble with the imam of her religion, punishable by banishment or possibly even death...

I enjoyed Anderson's writing style. She writes in a neat and simple style yet still manages to evoke some nice imagery. For example: "Black clouds roiled overhead, forming and reforming as the wind blew them across the sky. Suddenly, a deluge poured down into the garden, and raindrops bounced from the stones, and water ran along the stone paths." There are plenty of other instances, including: "Light coming through the stained-glass windows filled the church with a soft, subdued, luminous quality" and "...the crowd moved onto the bridge like a giant centipede of lights."

The author also approaches character emotions with subtlety and tenderness. The relationship between Tobey and Amiele - which starts out, naturally, as friendship - blossoms organically into a completely natural love as they share personal information and experiences together. The dilemma this causes with Amiele's imam and her religion culminates in a powerful scene late in the book. Though I sensed some sort of serious conflict was building, it still had great impact when it occurred. The friendship between twelve-year-olds Jacob and Nancy - who meet after he moves into a new neighbourhood - is also developed nicely.

Anderson's characters consider many philosophical questions about life and faith, which I found fitting in a novel crammed full of social and moral issues. Jacob's mother Katherine, having lost her husband, tries to figure out if she has arrived where she is in life through "fate or faith". Reverend Thomas considers whether he will make it into Heaven for the work he does for refugees, while Buck, a man in his fifties who is homeless by choice, despairs of all the evil in the world.

There are a few minor errors with missing punctuation throughout the book. However, the main negative I could find was a continual switching of tenses. Though most of the book is set in past tense, there are regular switches to present tense and back. I picked up ten such changes in just over a page at the beginning of the book. Tense changes also sometimes occur within the same sentence: "Thomas can't hear what they are saying, but gradually, the men calmed and then walked away." This did distract me from the otherwise great writing and storytelling.

If not for the random changes of tense, I would rate The Eagle Flies at Night 4 stars. In its current state, however, it earns 3 out of 4 stars. All it needs is a decent edit to fix these minor issues. Overall, it is a moving and challenging story which questions the state of the world and the xenophobic attitudes of some Americans toward foreigners. I would recommend it to those who enjoy thought-provoking human drama and the conflicts inevitably raised by mixing different cultures and religions.

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The Eagle Flies at Night
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Post by Caylie_Cat » 04 Dec 2018, 00:54

There are a lot of plot possibilities within the refugee and cross-cultural situations that are becoming more and more usual in the modern world, and the author appears to have handled this in a sensitive, but determined manner. Your excellent review has put this book on my to-read list.

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Post by Book Lover 35 » 04 Dec 2018, 01:12

Interesting plot! I love that it is not a fast- paced romance. I like how it has you thinking about certain issues at the end. Thank you for the review!
:tiphat:

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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Dec 2018, 08:52

I have to say that the switching of tenses drives me NUTS! I think I'll have to pass on this one just for that reason. Still, the philosophical questions sound interesting (though sometimes books like this are too deep for me.) Thanks for the thoughts.
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Post by Nusrat_Shabnam_ » 04 Dec 2018, 09:48

This book is surely not my type. It would be a serious pressure on my tiny mind. Great review though!

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Post by Sushan » 05 Dec 2018, 10:53

This book is not really of my taste. But I enjoyed your detailed review. Thank you 👍👍
"He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help"

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Post by joshfee77 » 10 Dec 2018, 22:53

Caylie_Cat wrote:
04 Dec 2018, 00:54
There are a lot of plot possibilities within the refugee and cross-cultural situations that are becoming more and more usual in the modern world, and the author appears to have handled this in a sensitive, but determined manner. Your excellent review has put this book on my to-read list.
Thanks! You're right - there are always plenty of plot possibilities when two very different cultures are mixed. And racism inevitably rears its ugly head.

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joshfee77
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Post by joshfee77 » 10 Dec 2018, 22:55

Book Lover 35 wrote:
04 Dec 2018, 01:12
Interesting plot! I love that it is not a fast- paced romance. I like how it has you thinking about certain issues at the end. Thank you for the review!
Thanks. Yeah, I thought the lesbian relationship between Tobey and Amiele was handled well.

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Post by joshfee77 » 10 Dec 2018, 22:57

kandscreeley wrote:
04 Dec 2018, 08:52
I have to say that the switching of tenses drives me NUTS! I think I'll have to pass on this one just for that reason. Still, the philosophical questions sound interesting (though sometimes books like this are too deep for me.) Thanks for the thoughts.
The switching of tenses was pretty tough to handle at times, and did pull me out of the story a bit. Other than that, a well-written book. Thanks.

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Post by joshfee77 » 10 Dec 2018, 22:58

Nusrat_Shabnam_ wrote:
04 Dec 2018, 09:48
This book is surely not my type. It would be a serious pressure on my tiny mind. Great review though!
Thanks! There was a bit to take in, and some interesting philosophical questions posed.

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Post by joshfee77 » 10 Dec 2018, 23:00

Sushan wrote:
05 Dec 2018, 10:53
This book is not really of my taste. But I enjoyed your detailed review. Thank you 👍👍
This book is definitely targeted toward those who enjoy real human drama with a little politics thrown in. Thanks for commenting.

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