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Friday, March 08, 2013

Review of Danusha Goska's Save Send Delete


As I neared the end of Danusha Goska's Save Send Delete, I started pondering what rating to assign it. I thought I would give it four stars, but when I finished the last page and my Kindle prompted me for a rating, I found myself giving it five. This is not a perfect book, and if five stars imply perfection, I apologize -- but it is a fascinating, moving, and profoundly thought-provoking work, and I was quite reluctant to admit it was over. (I am now rereading a book I could recite in my sleep, as a transition to moving on.)

If I understood the Preface correctly, Save Send Delete is a lightly fictionalized memoir, an account of an email exchange that became a virtual relationship between a woman and a man. The woman: Mira, a Polish-American Catholic, widely traveled, a PhD and teacher with serious health problems that have wreaked havoc with her personal and professional life. The man: Rand (short for a long name-plus-title), a well-off British aristocrat, author and raconteur, known for consistently defending atheism as superior to any form of religion.

The title reflects the form of the narrative. We see Mina's emails to Rand, as well as the emails she doesn't send (deletes) and those about which she vacillates before sending (saves). We are left to infer the content and style of Rand's replies. We are also shown exchanges between Mina and a friend, Amanda, about whom there is more to say -- which I'll refrain from saying.

Mira's and Rand's correspondence focuses on the subjects of religion and what one could call supernatural experience, but through that lens, it examines a wide range of subjects: suffering, love, hate, friendship, and how one can and cannot help one's fellows, to name a few.

Among the insights to which this book led me, by what indirect route I cannot recall: while I am an agnostic, and find all established religions unconvincing, I could not have written my novel Wander Home, set in a rather enticing afterlife, if I were absolutely convinced that no such afterlife could possibly exist.

So why do I call the book imperfect? At times, I felt that Mina ran on longer than necessary, or repeated herself in ways I could do without. These were minor and transitory annoyances, and they do not prevent me from heartily recommending this book.

Save Send Delete is available in paperback and ebook form, on Amazon and barnesandnoble.com. Here's the Amazon Kindle link.


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