Africa and art serve as lifelines to Kobrenski during years of misery, disappointments, losses and an unhealthy relationship with opioids, all of which he describes with vivid power. When he is faced with the risk of losing his ability to play music, he takes the advice of a shaman and, with the help of his African friends, undertakes a quest to appease the ancestors and lift his curse. The narrative skips back and forth in time, as well as through subjects, with Kobrenski's interesting asides and historical connections offering a welcome context for his story, which he shares with disarming frankness.
Kobrenski aptly captures the struggle of many chronically ill, between wanting to make the most out of life, fear of commitment because of their pain, and the growing desperation for a cure–which, in this case, even makes potentially being bitten by a scorpion sound like a good idea. Though his treatment choices prove unorthodox, his call to never give up on love and to never identify yourself with your adversity are vital reminders in a book that will inspire seekers whose lives are touched by chronic illness.
Takeaway: A painful yet hopeful story of chronic illness and an African quest.
Great for fans of: Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, Anna Lyndsey’s Girl in the Dark.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-