Synopses & Reviews
A "lush, evocative, breathtaking"* debut novel from Elaine Neil Orr, "reminiscent of Barbara Kingsolver's magnum opus, The Poisonwood Bible, with elements of Joseph Conrad and Louise Erdrich."*
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
When Emma Davis reads the words of Isaiah 6:8 in her room at a Georgia womens college, she understands her true calling: to become a missionary. It is a leap of faith that sweeps her away to Africa in an odyssey of personal discovery, tremendous hardship, and profound transformation.
For the earnest, headstrong daughter of a prosperous slave owner, living among the Yoruba people is utterly unlike Emmas sheltered childhoodas is her new husband, Henry Bowman. Twenty years her senior, the mercurial Henry is the object of Emmas mad first love, intensifying the sensations of all they see and share together. Each day brings new tragedy and heartbreak, and each day, Emma somehow finds the hope, passion, and strength of will to press onward. Through it all, Henrys first gift to Emma, a simple writing boxwith its red leather-bound diary and space for a few cherished keepsakesbecomes her closest confidant, Emmas last connection to a life that seems, in this strange new world, like a passing memory.
A tale of social and spiritual awakening; a dispatch from a difficult era at home and abroad; and a meditation on faith, freedom, and desire, A Different Sun is a captivating fiction debut.
*Library Journal (starred review)
“As lyrical and passionate a novel as has ever been written, A Different Sun
shines in the mind like a rare gem… A memorable and altogether original story.”—Lee Smith, New York Times
bestselling author of Fair and Tender Ladies
and The Last Girls
“A magnificent novel that explores the charged juncture between nineteenth-century Africa and the slaveholding South. This is the spellbinding, richly imagined story of missionaries Emma and Henry Bowman—inspired by historical figures—and the remarkable people they encounter on their transformative journey. Although A Different Sun might be seen as an Out of Africa for the twenty-first century, Orrs is an original and important new voice in American fiction.”—Angela Davis-Gardner, author of Plum Wine and Butterflys Child
“For anyone who has been waiting for a writer to imagine the white traveler to Africa from an altogether different angle, here is Elaine Neil Orrs brilliant novel. It goes to the heart. It goes to the bone. You won't be able to put it down.”—Peggy Payne, author of Sister India and Revelation
“An important book, one which unflinchingly explores tensions between Christianity and African religions, slavery and freedom, madness and love.”—Wayne Caldwell, author of Cataloochee and Requiem by Fire
“A powerful exploration of ‘correctness of principle…a sharp statement about morality… an exploration of love and true goodness…A beautiful novel, exquisitely written, perfectly complex, true to the past, relevant today, unforgettable.”—Philip F. Deaver, author of Silent Retreats, winner of the Flannery OConnor Award for Short Fiction
“Extraordinary… grips the imagination and doesnt let go. Here is rendered as fierce a spirituality as anything you can read in Dostoevsky. This is a book of high adventure with life and death stakes both for the body and the soul. It has a penetrating authenticity that will make your hair stand on end.”—Sena Jeter Naslund, New York Times bestselling author of Ahabs Wife and Four Spirits
“Lush, evocative, breathtaking in its descriptions, and deeply spiritual in its themes of love, forgiveness, and transformation, this extraordinary novel shines with light and depth. Reminiscent of Barbara Kingsolvers magnum opus, The Poisonwood Bible, with elements of Joseph Conrad and Louise Erdrich, Orrs stunning debut is starkly beautiful and true to life.” — Library Journal (starred review)
A sweeping novel set in war-torn 1928 China, with a star-crossed love story at its center.
In a city full of thieves and Communists, danger and death, spirited young Lydia Ivanova has lived a hard life. Always looking over her shoulder, the sixteen-year-old must steal to feed herself and her mother, Valentina, who numbered among the Russian elite until Bolsheviks murdered most of them, including her husband. As exiles, Lydia and Valentina have learned to survive in a foreign land.
Often, Lydia steals away to meet with the handsome young freedom fighter Chang An Lo. But they face danger: Chiang Kai Shek's troops are headed toward Junchow to kill Reds like Chang, who has in his possession the jewels of a tsarina, meant as a gift for the despot's wife. The young pair's all-consuming love can only bring shame and peril upon them, from both sides. Those in power will do anything to quell it. But Lydia and Chang are powerless to end it.
About the Author
Elaine Neil Orr is professor of English at North Carolina State University in Raleigh where she teaches world literature and creative writing. She also serves on the faculty of the brief-residency MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University in Louisville. Author of two scholarly books and the memoir, Gods of Noonday: A White Girl’s African Life, she has been a featured speaker and writer-in-residence at numerous universities and conferences and is a frequent fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She grew up in Nigeria.