Friedman brings together so many normally closed circles of life's tapestry, dissects them and spreads them wide. Then she chews on them in a range of partly fictional and partially factual related lives, layer by non-sequential layer.
The plot draws together and demonstrates the connectivity between the political, cultural and private life strands that mould the being. She studies a series of creative snap-shots to demonstrate the fact that we progress by knowing and understanding each other's paths and not just our own. This is a stand against the autistic political and social boxes that are used to justify aggressive action. Innocence knows to mend rather than destroy, despite the messages delivered by the cynical experienced. The strategy of peace, mending at all costs, is too easily abandoned. The Holocaust is connected to the election of Obama, life in Damascus is connected to the war in Vietnam, and a child adopted into suburban California is connected to the child conceived under the advancing guns of the posse. The study of interconnectivity is progress, whilst closed circles lead to mistrust and war.
This so well written poetic prose is a primal scream against the dark rivers of misunderstanding, of ignorance, of inhumane real politics, of our savage behaviours and untrusting expectations. We are all haunted by our pasts, scoured and scarred by life in the continuous present, and scared of our futures. The author so clearly tells us that for progress the only future is one of peace and cooperation, not the usual one of war and deceit born of selfish greed. The incorruptible chains of love must smother, imprison, the unbreakable chains of evil.
The Baby Boomer generation are the first, as a mass population rather than as a mass with a few privileged individuals in the self-serving elites, to have a genuine world view of the complex strands that snake through all our lives. We are the first with enough truths, despite the best spoiling efforts of greedy leaderships, to see through the veils of power. We are the first to have the privilege of viewing enough social and political strands to be able to see the common patterns. Friedman represents us well.
She is a writer with a driving need in her very DNA to proclaim the responsibility of us all to put peace and sentient love before our dangerous primitive, selfish drivers. It is a pity then that the leadership of our generation is betraying us so badly both on the macro and micro political levels.
I can but wonder at those that look at the the mechanical vehicle, the plot, and make some strange claim that the characters wouldn't behave in such and such a way, or that history didn't really happen like that. The view we are shown is receding from the rear, proceeding to the side, and progressing beyond the windscreen. The point isn't in the particular way the strands cross in the text, it is the subtext. As I see her words: we must not remember the message of the hippy generation as give peace a chance, we must remember it as peace is the only chance we have. The rescuer's path is our only sustainable path. So it is sad that the young of Malca's generation, the ones so gifted with vision, now lead the world so badly.
I'm sure that Friedman will say if I have lost my way on the path she outlined.