by Pavarti K. Tyler
Fighting Monkey Press
Release date: May 1, 2012
Received from: Author
Elih, Turkey has established its own set of laws that seek to control and dominate the population, in the name of Islamic law. This does, of course, effect women’s lives most of all, as the regime of the RTK (the ‘Morality Police’) targets women in an attempt to keep them docile and subservient.
Recai Osman is the heir of a billionaire who lacks direction in his own life. Then, the unthinkable happens and he is forced to wander in the desert, alone and helpless until a Jewish father and daughter take him in to help him recover from injuries he has sustained and has no memory of receiving. While in Recai is in their care, the RTK brutally attacks Rebekah, the daughter, and Recai is left to pick up the pieces of his newly crumbled and torn reality.
After years wandering the desert in search of a new life, Recai is drawn back to the life he abruptly left years before. He returns with a new consciousness and understanding of the brutality and oppression of the ruling class of Elih. It is then that he discovers that he must fight against the system in superhero fashion by protecting the women who live there. While carrying out his vigilantism, he inadvertently draws more people into his plan of protecting those who need it. Soon, there is a complex network that is aiding him and encouraging his efforts.
Tyler gives us a triumph in feminist literature, while supplying a believable ‘superhero’. Recai possesses no overt unearthly powers, but instead relies on his faith in knowing of what is right and wrong. In reality, he is just a man standing up for what he believes in, within the confines of the predetermined regime. The humanity which is displayed throughout the story is what makes it a success. Tyler is also not apt to shy away from graphically violent scenes to save those who wish to hide from the realities she discusses in the story. While the graphic scenes are not what one may want to read and have so forcefully pushed in front of them, they are necessary to be delivered in such a manner in order to keep us from hiding from the brutal truths in the lives of her characters.
Shadow on the Wall is a brilliant work, in that it is incredibly real and simplistic in its delivery. Tyler masterfully weaves complex issues of violence against women, religious oppression, and vigilantism into a cohesive, straight-forward look at the issues. Every one of the many characters is equally important within the story, and their position is easy to empathize with on some level- even if their actions are not. This is a work that shows the extremes to which the ruling class will go to keep their positions solidified, as well as the ability to control the population with fear, domination, and violence. Tyler pushes challenges the system and ideology every bit as much as Salman Rushdie; let us just hope she can avoid the fatwa. This is a success in what is sure to be an engaging new series from a powerful new voice.
Tomorrow: Guest Post from Ms. Tyler!
This book can be purchased at Amazon, as well as your local independent bookseller.
For more about Pavarti K. Tyler, check out her website here.
For the full tour schedule, go here.
[This review is also published at LL Book Review]