Christie's Reviews > A Time of Miracles

A Time of Miracles by Anne-Laure Bondoux
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Dec 14, 2010

it was amazing

"There's nothing wrong with making up stories to make life more bearable." -A Time of Miracles, by Anne-Laure Bondoux

Koumaïl's story, as he knows it from Gloria, begins with the Terrible Accident. Gloria is picking peaches in the Republic of Georgia (as opposed to picking peaches in the southern US state of Georgia) when she hears an earsplitting noise, like an explosion. Koumaïl has heard this story so many times, and always in the right order. It begins like this: there's a train wreck just past the curve where the pear trees are growing. Gloria runs to the train, all out of breath and sweating, and she discovers a woman holding a baby to her chest, begging Gloria to rescue the baby. The baby's name is Blaise Fortune, and Gloria takes him. She calls him Koumaïl. Five years later the Soviet Union collapses and Gloria decides she and Koumaïl, or Monsieur Blaise as she sometimes affectionately calls him, must flee the civil unrest, making their way westward toward France. And so begins a five year journey across the Caucasus (between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea) and Europe where they meet unforgettable characters and have many adventures, some harrowing. And Koumaïl tries not to catch a despair -- "But how do you know if you've caught a despair when you can't even see it. I wonder." Especially when the right order of his story that he knows backwards and forwards is called into question, along with the details. This is his story, and he tells it in his own order, with his own details. And that order is different from Gloria's.
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