Marilynmayer's Reviews > The White Mary

The White Mary by Kira Salak
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Aug 18, 09

Read in August, 2009

I'm always on the lookout for books taking place in Indonesia, and the fact that a good part of this book takes place in Papua New Guinea piqued my interest. (The island of New Guinea, the world's second largest, is divided between West Papua, owned by Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, an independent nation.) But my simple geographic interest traveled to the heart of the human spirit. The main character, Marika, is a journalist who covers the tragedies of the world. She travels from the Congo to Chechnya as easily as I might travel to Syracuse. After going through a by-the-skin-of-her-teeth escape from the civil war in the Congo, she comes home to Boston. At odds with her own spirit as much as she is with her profession, she finally decides to go in search of the journalist, Robert Lewis, who served as her role model. Lewis, an indefatigable advocate in bringing the forgotten atrocities from any corner of the world to print, has committed suicide. Marika decides to write a biography of him, and during her research she is contacted by a missionary who says he has seen Lewis, very much alive, in Papua New Guinea. Marika sets out to see if Lewis is still alive, and thus begins her soul-probing, physically-perilous journey. The physical and mental journeys create a read that's gripping, insightful, and stunning. I will never read or listen to a journalist who's put her/his life on the line in order to bring a war or an atrocity to my attention without a deep sense of gratitude again. The White Mary astounded me.
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