Tuesday, January 19, 2016

"Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of A Fist" by Sunil Yapa

When Victor sets out to sell marijuana to some of the 50,000 anti-globalization protestors gathered in Seattle, he doesn’t know what he is in for.  The protestors are determined to shut down the city and the meetings of the WTO delegates.  But the patience of the police is wearing thin and clashes are inevitable.

Over the course of one afternoon, the lives of seven people will be altered completely.  Bishop, the chief of police, is the father that Victor hasn’t seen in three years.  Ju and Park are police officers assigned to control the crowds.  King and John Henry are two protestors who are watching their plan of non-violence spin wildly out of control.  And then there is Dr. Charles Wickramsinghe, the Sri Lankan finance minister for whom the fate of his country rests on getting through the protestors to the meetings.  

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, the debut novel from Sunil Yapa, is a moving and powerful novel about humanity and compassion.

This is a fascinating novel that I absolutely enjoyed reading.  I do not remember the demonstrations that took place in Seattle in 1999, but this is a novel that could take place anywhere at any time.  It’s not necessary to understand what happened in Seattle, just to understand what drives people toward these situations.  And this book does a great job of helping the reader understand that.

I particularly enjoyed the way the story was told in short chapters with each chapter being from the perspective of another character.  There are just enough characters to make this work and through doing this, Yapa drives the story forward while giving a well-rounded view of the situation at hand.  

I often forgot that this book was taking place over the period of just one day, there were so many layers to it and so much going on.  There were a few moments that were very poignant but one that especially made me feel as though I was punched in the stomach, it took my breath away.  


I picked up this book because it was on every must read of 2016 list so I figured it had to be good.  I was not disappointed.  A year from now this book will be on every best of 2016 list.

3 comments:

  1. I remember the WTO demonstrations quite well. I was living in Vancouver at the time, so proximity will do that. I think i have to read this. All the reviews are fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So is it really that good -- to get on the best of 2016 list? I'm very curious by all the hubbub.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think so. It is a fantastic debut.

      Delete