I wish I could remember where I got the recommendation for this book, so that I can file for future reference that it is a source I should pay attention to. I loved the book. I hope that the fact that it is categorized as a Young Adult book will not put some off from reading it. It packs a very powerful emotional punch, worthy of any “adult” reading. In the author’s note, Patrick Ness explains that he was asked to take on the writing of an idea by Siobhan Dowd, who died before she was able to complete the work. All he had was the characters, a premise, and a beginning. He was an admirer of her previous books, but had not met her. I think it was very brave of him to take this on, and can’t imagine that it could have been any better in any other writer’s hands. Consequently, I have put both Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd of my list of authors to read. This is a terrific story.
Without giving away any plot details, the beauty of this book is a simple universal truth: the power of forgiveness. There are times in our lives when we have to consider forgiveness in one of its many forms. The thought process that preceeds the act can be grueling and painful, but ultimately, liberating and life affirming.
Conor had a fond memory of how much fun he and his mother had together in the recent past. She had taken him to his favorite Indian restaurant, and let him order as much vindaloo as he wanted. Then, instead of going home afterward, she took him to see a movie he’d already seen four times, even though he knew she was sick of it, and it was a school night! The recipe below recalls that happy day.
1 T olive oil 2 small carrots, chopped
½ tsp dry mustard 4 C cauliflower cut into small florets
1 tsp ground coriander 1 small red bell pepper
¼ tsp cardamom 2 small zucchini cut in ¼ inch slices
½ tsp cayenne pepper 1 C diced tomatoes
½ tsp turmeric ½ C chicken broth
1 tsp ground cumin 1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, drained
¼ tsp cinammon salt, pepper to taste
½ tsp paprika 1 T white wine vinegar
1 large onion, chopped chopped cilantro for garnish
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T chopped ginger
2 chopped serrano peppers, seeds removed
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add spices and stir for 30 seconds to allow spices to bloom. Add onion and saute until it begins to turn translucent (about 5 minutes), then add garlic, ginger and serrano peppers and saute for another minute. Stir in white wine vinegar and ½ cup of chicken broth, then add add the carrots, cauliflower and red pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in zucchini, tomatoes, kidney beans and ½ cup chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Serve over rice, garnish with chopped cilantro.
NOTE: This dish was seriously better the second day. The flavors were evenly blended and there were layers of taste complexity missing from the night before’s servings.