Rebecca McNutt's Reviews > Quill of the Dove

Quill of the Dove by Ian Thomas Shaw
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, history, political, canadian

I'm always glad to support Canadian authors as a Canadian author myself, and I really appreciate Shaw offering me the chance to read Quill of the Dove. This is a really impressive work of historical fiction, reminding me vaguely of films such as The Killing Fields, Not Without My Daughter and The Year of Living Dangerously. With a great balance of drama, political intrigue and scenic descriptions, Shaw crafts an excellent and unforgettable tale that immerses readers into earlier years and a world that vividly unfolds on every page.

Following two journalists and spanning across two different eras, Quill of the Dove is set mostly in the Middle East and writes about the harrowing times of civil war, violence and chaos. Taragon, who travels there to learn a new language in the nostalgic 1970's, finds himself immersed in this strange and shocking time period first-hand, and his journalism career becomes not merely a job, but his own personal growth as a character. Meanwhile we also get the 2007 story of a Canadian journalist, the younger Marie Boivin, who is now given the task of writing about Taragon himself, whose experiences in life are very different from hers. Boivin and Taragon are put together in the midst of instability, and while Taragon has made it his mission to share the horrors of extremism with the mainstream public, Boivin's own goal is to finally come to terms with her own childhood.

Shaw's experience as a diplomat and international development worker and his travel to many parts of the world has no-doubt given this book much more leverage and I really appreciated the extreme amount of talent - in many cases with political fiction I find the books very dry and fact-based, but Shaw manages to share important facts and history while still giving a powerful fictional story with very human and realistic characters, shedding light on old events in our current post-9/11 climate and Trump-era polarization, reminding us all that everybody has a story to tell. With passion and depth, Quill of the Dove really shows the intertwined lives of two seemingly unlikely characters and gives readers a story that will hopefully get them more interested in the world around them. It's also great to read some Canadian literature with such strong international themes that connect this country to the world at large. I would also recommend reading The Other Side of the Sun alongside it, another Canadian-written book with strong international themes that I really enjoyed last year.
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Reading Progress

February 22, 2019 – Shelved
February 22, 2019 – Shelved as: fiction
February 22, 2019 – Shelved as: history
February 22, 2019 – Shelved as: political
February 22, 2019 – Shelved as: canadian
Started Reading
February 23, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Andy (new) - added it

Andy Zach Thanks Rebecca. Having lived through this time period and read earlier historical fiction by Leon Uris, I'm curious to read 'Quill of the Dove'.


Rebecca McNutt Andy wrote: "Thanks Rebecca. Having lived through this time period and read earlier historical fiction by Leon Uris, I'm curious to read 'Quill of the Dove'."

It's a really amazing book, definitely one worth reading! :)


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