Mott revisits a premise explored by numerous authors - a miracle and the aftermath.
When an accident threatens to take the life of her friend Wash, young Ava doesn't think, doesn't know how, but she puts her hands on Wash and the gaping wound is healed. And then the proverbial cat is out of the bag - the news spreads and the circus begins.
Their small town is invaded by the press and those looking to be healed. The medical community pokes and prods Ava and the religious sects want to own her. Her widowed father Macon is torn between protecting his daughter and being caught up in the frenzy.
While it is not a new premise for a book, Mott examines it with his own interpretation, exploring the themes of obligation, family, love and loss. Mott has beautiful prose - his turns of phrases, descriptions and dialogues are eloquently expressed. It's worth reading slowly to savor the sense and the story he builds. People magazine called The Wonder of All Things 'spellbinding'.
While I enjoyed the book, I found I didn't like many of the characters. I expected to find myself drawn to Ava, I was - but not a much as I felt I should be. I was very disappointed with Macon. My favourite character ended up being Brenda, Wash's grandmother. A series of vignettes from the past of Ava and her mother are a lovely interlude, but provide no answers as to why her mother died.
Mott gives the reader an emotional ride of a read - you'll vacillate between sadness, shock, anger, hope, denial and more. And the ending? Fitting I think, but have the hankies ready.
Read an excerpt of The Wonder of All Things.
"Jason Mott holds a BA in fiction and an MFA in poetry both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and is the author of two poetry collections. His writing has appeared in numerous literary journals, and he was nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize. In addition to the rare achievement of receiving starred reviews from all four of the top publishing industry magazines—Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus Reviews—The Returned was named a “People Pick” by People magazine, and was featured in Essence, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post, among others. Mott also appeared on numerous broadcast programs including NPR’s All Things Considered and Tell Me More, The Travis Smiley Show, the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Radio Show and many local television shows across the U.S. Mott lives in North Carolina." You can connect with Jason Mott on Facebook as well as on Twitter.
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