Reviews||

We Are Called To Rise by Laura McBride

26th Aug 2014

★★★★
We Are Called to Rise
We Are Called To Rise is the debut novel from Laura McBride. Taking the her hometown of Las Vegas as a setting, she highlights for her readers an intriguing community that attempts to survive away from the seedy reputation of money, glitz and excess the ‘Sin City’ has become notorious for. "Where the tiniest act, the smallest space of time, the most inconsequential of decisions, changes a life..."

We Are Called To Rise is a thoughtful and compelling exploration of human nature. It explores the colossal impact that seemingly innocuous actions can have on the wider picture, a ripple effect if you will.

Utilising multiple first person narratives McBride injects her narrative with a comforting pace that pulls the reader along as the events in the novel unfold for her eclectic mix of characters.

An eight-year-old Albanian boy about to face a challenge of epic proportions; a middle aged mum, Avis, whose world falls apart when she discovers her husband’s affair; the traumatised soldier who wrote that letter to the 10 year old school boy; the volunteer case-worker determined to do her bit to help children whose family circumstances have let them down.

A single, tragic event forces the paths of these characters to cross. Each character must face their own demons, each of them faces a struggle of inordinate proportions. The emotional pull of each journey is at times quite intense and holds the real power of this novel.A single, tragic event forces the paths of these characters to cross. Each character must face their own demons, each of them faces a struggle of inordinate proportions. The emotional pull of each journey is at times quite intense and holds the real power of this novel.

The narrative of Avis packs quite an emotional punch. Forced to rethink her journey and confront her less than conventional upbringing, Avis struggles to deal with the actions of her son.

Her narratives are both eloquent and deep as she delves deep into her psyche in an attempt to pull meaning from her life, in an attempt to give her the strength to continue.

“What is most beautiful is least acknowledged. What is worth dying for is barely noticed.”

Bashkin, the eight-year-old son of Albanian immigrants, is a voice that McBride captures so precisely. This is the narrative that will pull at your heart strings. His is that character that will stay with you long after you’ve closed the final chapter.

We Are Called To Rise is a novel that despite an almost overwhelming sadness, manages to celebrate and give power to the ability of human beings to keep going when the odds are stacked against them.

To successfully combine both these strong strands is a testament to Laura McBride’s ability to truly make her readers, well, feel.