The Summary: In the coffee-growing highlands of Ethiopia, an Italian scientist on a plant collecting expedition discovers a local medicine man dispensing an apparent cure for AIDS. As the medicine man’s teenage daughter reveals the plants behind the cure, their lives become irrevocably intertwined. Through These Veins weaves together the dramatically different worlds of traditional healing, U.S. government funded AIDS research, and the pharmaceutical industry in an intensely personal, fast-paced tale of scientific intrigue and love, with both devastating and hopeful effect. (From the paperback edition)
Thank you very much to Anne Marie Ruff’s publicist for suggesting and sending this book to us for review. Although my subsequent review will be a very good one, it was not influenced in any way by Darlene Chan PR! I was initially drawn to the story when it was sent to us, as the description reminded me of Ann Patchett’s most recent novel “State of Wonder“. I found Through These Veins to be a worthy comparison, if not better actually, than Patchett’s novel. Patchett is a true genius in her character development, but her recent story frustrated me some. Ruff, however, is a well-worthy contemporary. Through These Veins really is a wonderful read, a story of the greed and contemptible behaviour (locally, nationally, globally), of the beauty and richness of Ethiopia, its people and its land, but also their suffering and has just the right love-story element thrown in so that the pages turn effortlessly.
The main character Zahara makes the read worthy alone. Actually, many of the characters are highly read worthy, as Ruff creates very strong, vivid and thought-provoking characters. She also has a pleasing way of turning this global issue down to the personal and individual, close to home shall we say. Ruff deftly manages to draw the readers in to a personal moral dilemma to wrestle with as they follow Zahara from her time with her father in a small village in Ethiopia to the ivy-league universities in the United States. Ruth, the pharmaceutical representative with one of the largest and most ambitious companies in the US will also draw you in.
And another encouragement to have the opportunity to read Through These Veins, dear reader, is the Literary Hoarders first-ever book giveaway! Darlene Chan PR has generously supplied us with one paperback edition of the novel. It’s up for grabs to one lucky (Canadian or US) reader! We hope you take the time to enter below in our little Giveaway part. The contest will run until November 25th and then we’ll name the winner! We hope to see you enter!