James Meek, The People's Act of Love
I must mention my great admiration for James Meek’s The People’s Act of Love, which I read recently. (Excerpts here and here.) The novel is a stunning achievement, one with an epic sweep which still manages to convey the small details of people’s everyday lives. The story is set in a small backwater town in Eastern Siberia in 1919, in the earliest days of the Soviet Union, and involves a Czech regiment still stranded after WWI, a small community of religious fanatics, a lonely woman and her young son, and a dangerous criminal who infiltrates all of their lives. It’s a story of love, suspense and war which asks some very big philosophical questions which, in intriguingly ambiguous fashion, are only partially answered. I won’t be doing a full review of the novel, since I could never adequately convey my thoughts on the subject, so I’ll simply say that this is a great book which gets my highest recommendation.