The following review of Out Of Jericho appeared on the "Mojo mums" website, some faire criticisms, for which I accept full responsibility . I was pleased with the review in general. My comments are below the review.
Out of Jericho follows the lives of several people and covers events that happen all over the world, ranging from Nigeria, Israel, Palestine, London and Paris. It starts with a family having their home demolished to make way for a new road in one part of the world, and simultaneously, thousands of miles away, a young girl clutching a decapitated teddy bear is rescued from cross-fire. Throughout the book we see how these lives are changed and how they are brought together.
I wouldn’t have picked this book up had it not been sent to me, I had never heard of the author and the cover and title gave me the impression that it was going to be like Bravo Two Zero, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The story is both violent (the flaying of a rogue terrorist who doesn’t follow the brief) and touching (a gentile child who is defeated by a Jewish boy then reprimands his father for telling the Jewish boy to go back where he came from) , once I got round to reading it I couldn’t put it down. Nick Roddy humanises the characters that we are used to seeing in the media as two dimensional, either as terrorists or victims, here his gives both sides three dimensions and we hear the thoughts and feelings of them all.
I liken this book to The Color Purple, it begins with separation and ends with reunification, highlighting some of the struggles that people in countries involved in conflict are subjected to. At the same time showing that a lot of the time, their day to day concerns can be very similar to our own. The only let down for me was that the book fizzled out rather than going out with a bang, but I imagine this was the authors intention, as it does leave the characters’ fates to the readers imagination.
Mark, the reviewer makes two points, firstly the cover, I chose the cover picture after a long struggle , and I totally agree with him, it does look a bit "Bravo Two Zero", the first cover suggested by the publishers was basically an archaeological type photograph f the walls of Jericho, which I felt missed the point completely, I was concerned that this cover might alienate some people, and it seems that it has, but I also want the cover to have an artistic integrity with the book, idea of perceptions being over turned, the child snipper on the front cover occurs at the start and end of the book in two completely different scenarios defying expectations and closing a circle.
As for the book "fizzling out"; the reviewer is right, there is no bang at the end, and it was intentional, but I accept that some people may find this disappointing. A final bang would have over shadowed the other bangs and explosions to which the characters are exposed, and one of the themes I hoped to get across was the inevitable cycle of history. I wanted the book to be a snap shot across time, I think the closest work I can think of that attempts the same thing would be the film " Crash".
I did intend that the book would show though that, despite the inevitable crushing Hardyesque nature of the plot that for some there would be the possibility of hope, but that the human condition will continue in its own relentless manner. I also want to show that people do ultimately make their own choices and that in a world where the boundaries between good and evil can some times appear blurred to both onlookers and those involved, acts of heroism can be found in the most unusual places and are as much an inherent part of human nature as the horror.
The original review is available click here