Synopses & Reviews
Renowned through four award-winning books for his gritty and revelatory visions of the Caribbean, Bob Shacochis returns to occupied Haiti in The Woman Who Lost Her Soul
before sweeping across time and continents to unravel tangled knots of romance, espionage, and vengeance. In riveting prose, Shacochis builds a complex and disturbing story about the coming of age of America in a pre-9/11 world.
When humanitarian lawyer Tom Harrington travels to Haiti to investigate the murder of a beautiful and seductive photojournalist, he is confronted with a dangerous landscape riddled with poverty, corruption, and voodoo. Its the late 1990s, a time of brutal guerrilla warfare and civilian kidnappings, and everyone has secrets. The journalist, whom he knew years before as Jackie Scott, had a bigger investment in Haiti than it seemed, and to make sense of her death, Tom must plunge back into a thorny past and his complicated ties to both Jackie and Eville Burnette, a member of Special Forces who has been assigned to protect her.
From the violent, bandit-dominated terrain of World War II Dubrovnik to the exquisitely rendered Istanbul in the 1980s, Shacochis brandishes Jackie's shadowy family history with daring agility. Caught between her first love and the unsavory attentions of her father an elite spy and quintessential Cold War warrior pressuring his daughter to follow in his footsteps seventeen-year-old Jackie hatches a desperate escape plan that puts her on course to becoming the soulless woman Tom equally feared and desired.
Set over fifty years and in four countries backdropped by different wars, The Woman Who Lost Her Soul is a magnum opus that brings to life, through the mystique and allure of history, an intricate portrait of catastrophic events that led up to the war on terror and the America we are today.
"In Shacochis's powerful novel of sex, lies, and American foreign policy, 1990s Haiti, Nazi-occupied Croatia, and Cold War-era Istanbul are shown as places where people are pulled into a vortex of personal and political destruction. After leaving Haiti's Truth Commission, lawyer Tom Harrington returns to Florida and family routine until a private investigator asks him to help a client accused of murdering his wife, Renee Gardner, whom Harrington knew in Haiti as Jackie Scott. Harrington once took Jackie to a voodoo priest so she could ask him to restore her soul, and in flashbacks we discover why. First, Shacochis shows Jackie's father, Stjepan, as an eight-year-old Croatian boy during the German occupation who witnesses his father's beheading and his mother's torture. Forty years later, a teenage Jackie, then called Dorothy Chambers, learns the meaning of secret service from her father, who's serving as an American diplomat in Turkey. A brutal American-style le Carré, Shacochis details how espionage not only reflects a nation's character but can also endanger its soul. Gritty characters find themselves in grueling situations against a moral and physical landscape depicted in rich language as war-torn, resilient, angry, evil, and hopeful. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A masterful novel with the power to shake the bones of Graham Greene." Bruce Barcott, Outside Magazine
Brilliantly unveils the darker regions of human sexuality, evoked inside a historical build-up of international political deceit.” Jeffrey Hillard, Interview Magazine
Shacochis thinks big, and his new novel (his first in two decades) is truly magisterial...immensely readable, this eye-opener (which could have been titled 'Why We Are in the Middle East') is essential reading.” Library Journal (Starred Review)
"National Book Award-winning novelist Shacochis makes a long-awaited indeed, much-anticipated return to fiction with this stunning novel of love, innocence and honor lost....The wait was worth it...Shacochis has delivered a work that belongs alongside Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene....[The Woman Who Lost Her Soul] moves like a fast-flowing river, and it is memorably, smartly written....An often depressing, cautionary and thoroughly excellent tale of the excesses of empire, ambition and the too easily fragmented human soul." Kirkus (Starred Review)
"A beautifully written, Norman Mailerlike treatise on international politics, secret wars, espionage, and terrorism....A brilliant book, likely to win prizes, with echoes of Joseph Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, and John le Carré." Booklist (Starred Review)
About the Author
Bob Shacochis's first collection of stories, Easy in the Islands, won the National Book Award for First Fiction, and his second collection, The Next New World, was awarded the Prix de Rome from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is also the author of the novel Swimming in the Volcano, a finalist for the National Book Award, and The Immaculate Invasion, a work of literary reportage that was a finalist for The New Yorker Book Award for Best Nonfiction of the Year. Shacochis is a contributing editor at Outside, a former columnist for Gentleman's Quarterly, and has served as a contributing editor for Harpers and GQ. His op-eds on the US military, Haiti, and Florida politics have appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.