Out There

Sarah Stark
Leaf Storm Press (2014)
ISBN 9780991410507
Reviewed by Sheri Bebee for Reader Views (05/14)

Article first published as Book Review: ‘Out There’ by Sarah Stark on Blogcritics.

“Out There” by Sarah Stark is a novel about Jefferson Long Soldier, a young Army veteran who returns home safely to Santa Fe, New Mexico, after a four year stint in Iraq.   He is convinced that his life was spared by a book – One Hundred Years of Solitude by Nobel Prize winning author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  Jefferson is restless and he’s having a hard time acclimating to civilian life after his service because he has seen too much.  He develops numerous coping mechanisms, but desperately needs to get his experiences out – he needs someone to hear where he’s been and to answer the question “why.”  Jefferson engages a pseudo-doctor who has been able to help somewhat but ultimately decides that he must seek out the counsel of his hero, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, affectionately referred to as GGM.  So begins Jefferson’s road trip from Santa Fe to Mexico on a motorcycle borrowed from his cousin Nigel.

I really enjoyed this book, much more so than I thought I might, so it was a pleasant surprise!  I could feel the depth of Jefferson’s character and it seems the author poured her literary heart into his development.  I got into Jefferson’s mind and it was both scary and enlightening, often at the same time.  Jefferson could easily be anyone’s brother, father or son, and my own heart begged for him to find some relief, some closure to his experiences so he could move on with the next chapter of his life. 

The writing was almost haunting in a ‘deep-thought’ kind of way.  It’s possible that I felt this even more deeply, given the recent passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  It has been many, many years since I read One Hundred Years of Solitude so I’m not sure I would have remembered the parallel occurrences had they not been referenced.  It’s not that I would consider reading One Hundred Years of Solitude to be a pre-requisite to reading this book, but I would venture to say that the readers that have read One Hundred Years will have a deeper, mystical experience with “Out There” by Sarah Stark.  5 stars!

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