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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Memoir Hits Chorde for Amazon Reviewer

Title: Save Send Delete
Author: Danusha V. Goska
Author's Web site link: http://save-send-delete.blogspot.com/
Genre or category: Memoir
ISBN ISBN-10: 1846949866
Reviewed by Kincaide originally for Amazon.
Publisher and reviewer's rating: Five stars


Happened upon this book quite by accident. A fortuitous one at that.
It's been too long since I've read a non-formulaic, original work, let
alone one that openly bares the soul of the author and makes you
respect them for honestly portraying life as filled with shades of
grey instead of being just black or white. Perhaps it was David Eggers
"Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" that last moved me this way.

Ms. Goska's intelligent and eloquent use of the English language
vividly and realistically conveys a broad range of human emotions,
including, wonder, inquisitiveness, love, lust, anxiety, exhilaration,
disappointment, anger, loneliness, fear and hope. Mira, who represents
Ms. Goska in this story, is the protagonist. She invites us along on a
private journey of discovery as her act of reaching out to a stranger,
a famous academic, takes her on a long road of self exploration,
winding down many paths. Ultimately, breaking from the day to day
correspondence, the book fast-forwards several years into the future
with Mira reflecting back on their intense relationship.

Told in the form of a series of first person emails, we are allowed to
see only Mira's side of the correspondence with the academic, Lord
Randolph Court-Wright. In this book, Lord Court-Wright is a famous
atheist. Mira, on the other hand, is a devoutly Catholic professor,
who lives modestly in relative obscurity. Although their discussion
initially begins as a heated debate over the existence of God, it
quickly goes well beyond that, and shows how individuals relate,
interact, fight, fall in love and seek meaning through themselves and
through others. Since readers only see only Mira's correspondence,
Lord Court-Wright is viewed through her reaction to his emails. Each
passage is time stamped. At the end of each missive are ubiquitous
"Save Send Delete" choices that modern-day readers used to email for
daily communication find comfortably familiar. Cleverly, Ms. Goska
shows hesitation, doubt and clarification through both the time of the
communication and Mira's choice of whether a particular email is
saved, sent or deleted.

Ms. Goska inserts one other active character into the story, Amanda, a
friend from a completely different background. Amanda is famous in her
own right, but shares a special connection with Mira. Correspondence
between Amanda and Mira is visible to the reader, allowing Ms. Goska
to flesh out the Lord Court-Wright character. When Amanda asks
questions about him, Mira dutifully answers in her own quirky way -
revealing insight about both Mira and Lord Court-Wright. Since the
book is ascribed to true events, I assumed while reading it that
Amanda is a real person. In retrospect, I'm not sure if she is real,
or whether she is a plot device to more fully embellish the atheist
Lord Court-Wright, referenced, but otherwise unseen.

Readers are bound to walk away from this book with many different and
perhaps conflicting perceptions of the message. I grew up Catholic,
converted to the Episcopal Church as an adult, and am now agnostic.
The debates over the existence or non-existence of a supreme deity
mirror the questioning that I personally struggle with when thinking
about one all-knowing being. Having never knowingly experienced the
tangible physical manifestation of a divine force, I don't have the
same perception that Mira describes in her emails with Lord
Court-Wright. However given the vastness of the universe, I find it
arrogant to think that there is not some force that had a hand in
bringing our small little corner of the universe into creation. Ms.
Goska allows and acknowledges doubt, debating respectfully, but still
forcefully arguing through Mira, that god exists. There are moments
when certain passages drag on, belaboring theological points that that
can be made in a more succinct manner. Ms. Goska can be forgiven this
infrequent tendency towards elongating certain sections (or perhaps I
should be chastised for a short attention span) because when viewed as
a whole, the book is a gem.

The undercurrent of the book is the budding love story and saga of two
incredibly talented individuals that are unexpectedly brought
together, and that support, challenge, chide and at their core, care
for each other. This particularly struck home for me, as I have also
experienced a deeply moving, intellectual and emotional relationship
with an unattainable member of the opposite sex. Readers don't need to
personally experience this however, as the message however of finding
meaning and purpose by and through interaction with others is
universal.

"Save, Send, Delete" is a highly intelligent, thought-provoking book
that keeps the reader engaged and rooting for a happy ending until the
very last page. Such a richly nuanced portrayal of a deeply moving,
human story deserves to catapult Ms. Goska out of obscurity and into
the limelight as one of the most powerfully authentic authors of our
time.
-----
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