Renowned through four award-winning books for his gritty and revelatory visions of the Caribbean, Bob Shacochis returns to occupied Haiti in The Woman Who Lost Her Soul before sweeping across time and continents to unravel tangled knots of romance, espionage, and vengeance. In riveting prose, Shacochis builds a complex and disturbing story about the coming of age of America in a pre-9/11 world. Set over fifty years and in four countries backdropped by different wars, The Woman Who Lost Her Soul is National Book Award winner Bob Shacochis’ magnum opus that brings to life, through the mystique and allure of history, an intricate portrait of catastrophic events that led up to the war on terror and the America we are today.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2013: In this breathtakingly ambitious work, spanning the globe and many decades, Shacochis has crafted a (mostly) fictional backstory to 9/11, tracing the ancient hatreds that continue to infect history. At the story’s core is Jackie Smith (aka Renee Gardner, aka Dottie Chambers), posing as a photojournalist in late-1990s Haiti, a feral and dangerous place--where Jackie fits right in. Beautiful, heedless, and damaged, Jackie/Renee/Dottie is a man-eater: “Hers would be a slavish cult of eager youth and wicked men.” Among those who fall under her spell are the earnest humanitarian lawyer Tom Harrington and the malleable gung-ho Special Forces operative Eville Burnette, not to mention her Croatian-turned-America father, whose inappropriate attentions add a creepy touch. Lording above all is a group of golf buddies, shadowy puppet masters from the “acronymic spawn” of military and intelligence agencies, whom Shacochis hilarious calls “phallocrats”--“little guys with big d**ks, or at least big d**k syndrome.” From Haitian voodoo dances to World War II Croatian to the first inklings of a group of Arab extremists known as “The Base,” this is a spy thriller engorged into a brilliant reflection on “the cult of millennial revenge.” Inevitably, there will be Graham Greene and Joseph Conrad comparisons. I’d add two Davids to the mix: Lynch and Cronenberg. And though it’s a brick of a book, it rarely slows: transfixing and magical; sexy and lurid; propulsive and unpredictable and quite troubling. Some of the set pieces are unceasingly good, and every line is crafted with obsessive care--no small feat in a 700-page book. Awards judges? Take notice. --Neal Thompson