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The Shaman of Turtle Valley

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4.58  ·  Rating details ·  12 ratings  ·  9 reviews
The author of the award-winning What the Zhang Boys Know ("...utterly beautiful and unforgettable"--Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang) now gives us a heart-rending first novel about love, displacement, and the powerful ghosts that haunt so many families.

The Alexanders have farmed the land in Turtle Valley for generations, and their family and its history is tied to t
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Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Braddock Avenue Books
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4.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  12 ratings  ·  9 reviews


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Joy
May 09, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Seemingly the current trend, The Shaman of Turtle Valley is told from multiple points of view. All but one character are done in first person with no indication of who is speaking next. This is disconcerting but also somewhat effective artistically.

The story’s premise and the trajectory of Aiken, the main character, are timely and relevant. The fragmentation and confusion surrounding a newly returned Veteran are depicted well. In places, the writing doesn’t do justice to the emotional
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Phyllis Duncan)
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
An intricate story and relatable characters. This is a story of family: the lengths we go to in creating them and the lengths we'll go to in preserving them. Intelligent writing and an interesting narrative style makes these characters people you've known or encountered. A wonderful blending as well of the shamanic traditions of two widely diverse cultures. The Ulster Scot "tradition" of holding a grudge for generations is described here in sensitive detail, as is the trauma of being uprooted an ...more
Jeanette
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Shaman of Turtle Valley was a very enjoyable book by Clifford Garstang. I love to read books about the Korean history and culture and this book gripped me from start to finish. One of those rare books that i may read again one day. I never write what a story is about as i prefer one to read the book for themselves, but i do highly recommend.

My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for my copy. This is my honest review.
Melissa
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, set-in-virginia
There is a lot of stuff in this book!. It centers on Gulf War veteran Aiken Alexander, his South Korean wife Soon-hee, and their young son in Virginia. However there are tendrils of the story going back in time to the settlement of the Valley and the Alexander family ancestors, Aiken's youth and time in the military, and his and Soon-hee's meeting in South Korea. Toss in strained family relationships, old flames, and Korean spiritual beliefs and you will be taken on quite an enjoyable journey. T ...more
Amy
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
PERFECT BOOK CLUB READ!

Clifford Garstang's poignant telling of this story of loss, superstition, and family secrets, leaves a mark on the soul. He's captured its truth in a way that tends more toward poetry than prose. Not in the way the words are organized on the page. Rather, it is how each element resonates with feeling – whether it is Soon-Hee's communication with the dead, or Aiken's hobby of building birdhouses. Each choice has integrity and power, as though it could only be told this one 
...more
Hannah
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"The Shaman of Turtle Valley" by Clifford Garstang explores what family means despite abuse and the hardships of life. I was immediately swept up into the Alexander family's story and cared for Aiken and Soon-hee deeply. Garstang perfectly balances a sense of Korean history, culture, and spiritualism, with Soon-hee's relationship with the Alexanders. This book is a beautiful tale of humanity and healing.
Olivia
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So happy to see him debut his first novel! Love his short stories and he perfectly transitioned into novel writing. The story is extremely captivating and wrestles with what being an interracial family means.
Marissa DeCuir
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Watching Garstag transition from short stories to fiction has been such a smooth and amazing process. This novel really hits home in the main themes and characters that are struggling to find themselves. Such a beautiful tale filled with amazing characters and plot!
JKS Communications
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful book that wrestles with what it means to be a family. Garstang is allowing readers into what a Korean and American family would be like and the struggles of leaving one's culture behind. Perfect book for anyone who enjoyed his short stories and like me wanted more!
Alma Petterson
rated it really liked it
Apr 07, 2019
Kelly
rated it it was amazing
Apr 24, 2019
Clifford
Feb 15, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
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Clifford Garstang grew up in the Midwest and received a BA from Northwestern University. After serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Korea, he earned an MA in English and a JD, both from Indiana University, and practiced international law in Singapore, Chicago, and Los Angeles with one of the largest law firms in the United States. Subsequently, he earned an MPA in International Development ...more