Zaremba: or Love and the Rule of Law, by Michelle Granas, was a fascinating read for me, on many levels. From a shy and inhibited polio victim named Cordelia, to a man named Zaremba, the novel flows quickly within a Polish setting.
I had difficulty putting the book down, and read straight through, becoming more absorbed by the page. I found it intriguing how Cordelia, slowly but surely, manages to overcome trust issues, and becomes a right-hand, if not outright heroine, to Darek’s arrogance.
By arrogance I do not mean conceit, but more like confidence in himself. He is aware that he holds the key to some of Poland’s systematic covertness, and its outright unethical actions. He is trying desperately to disclose the operatives trying to conceal their irresponsible actions.
Initially, Cordelia is introverted and lacks self-esteem, due to having polio. She focuses on that fact quite intensely, and does not see the beauty she emanates, both externally and internally. She feels everyone is looking at her and her health issues, as she walks awkwardly through life.
Within the confines of her self-repression, she is a forthright and honest person, with an extreme sense of right and wrong. She has a great sense of humor, and is loyal to the point of harming herself.
I enjoyed the characters of Cordelia and Darek, and felt that they complimented each other. I liked how Cordelia grew, emotionally, letting go of some of her fears, and becoming more confident in her choices and decisions. I like how Darek encouraged her to be more self-asssured, yet his love for her was unconditional.
The novel is not only a romantic story, but also one that exhibits the political side of societal mores. The modern versus the old train of thought is a strong underlying theme, as the powers of politics seems not to be held responsible for actions inflicted on its citizens. The influence of power overrides the moral and ethical modes.
I liked the action within the pages, action necessary to the story line, and depicted with brilliance and sharpness by Granas. Her word-imagery drew me in through vivid prose.
The CIA’s interactions give one thoughts to ponder. The country’s politicians and their mode of operation give one a sense of humanity being demeaned in order to gain favor and power. This is a story that illuminates the political issues of most countries, and how they repress their citizens through word of mouth hatred and through newspaper stories that rend favor to politicians. Citizens do not seem to count in the scheme of things, and if they do count they are deemed puppets to be manipulated.
I thoroughly enjoyed Zaremba: or Love and the Rule of Law. I highly recommend it to everyone. It is not only an intriguing and fascinating story but an excellent and refreshing one.
Brava to Michelle Granas!
I a sorry for the update. I had to make a correction.