Beyond the glamour and glitz of Las Vegas, real life can be hard and the jackpot elusive. For eight year old Bashkim, an Albanian migrant, a split-second decision means nothing is going to be the same ever again. In this collision of lives, much is at stake and the real question is: will everyone - returned soldiers, police officers, judges, social workers and foster carers - be able to put his best interests first?
This is a powerful contemporary story sensitively written which examines how we behave and how we can behave when the chips are down. A satisfying and thought-provoking read.
All members felt it took a few chapters to get into the book. Once they did they were hooked and totally engaged with all characters. Several readers were very emotional and moved to tears. Others felt that while there was an overall sadness, a theme of hope came through.
9 out of 10 enjoyed the book. The ending was a bit glib, but the strength and the portrayal of genuine characters was admired. 1 out of 10 felt that there were too many damaged characters in the book to enjoy it.
Universally enjoyed by all members.
Most of us found the first chapter somewhat USA speak irritating, but soon got over this as we were drawn into the separate stories which soon became entangled with one another. Some thought the characters were very well drawn and believable. A very good first novel from this author.
We enjoyed this book. The themes in the story were sympathetically covered, although each storyteller had very difficult hurdles to overcome.
We ALL read it. Loved the different narrators and the stories coming together mid-way through the book.
A full range of responses from 'couldn't get into it', to 'absolutely loved it'. Those that read it enjoyed the 3 different voices a lot. Poignant and moving especially with the current riots in the U.S.
All really enjoyed the book and and the interesting characters and the way they were developed in the book. There were interesting discussions about the the themes in the book in today's environment.
An emotive read, bringing together many characters and cultures. It really showed a different side to Las Vegas, away from the glitz of the Strip. Very contemporary subject matter and thought provoking.
A great story, with an ending more like an afterthought!
Good discussion. We wouldn't recommend it enthusiastically, but neither would we say, "Don't bother reading that". The positives were the believable and authentic voices of two of the main characters (Bashkim and Luis). Some felt the negatives were that the plot took too long to tie together, and that the ending was rushed and dissatisfying. Overall we thought that there were some really poignant moments, and that it was a worthy first novel, merging three disparate stories into a cohesive whole.
We really enjoyed this, once you sorted out the characters and where they fitted. It was really true to life re the trauma of the war. We knew about this and the impact, but the book made it seem even more real!! Amazing that this was her debut novel...
Generally enjoyed! Not happy with ending!
All enjoyed it. A good read, and many were surprised to find out it was loosely based on true events.
Everyone in the group enjoyed this book. It was an easy read, and well written for a "first" novel, although some found the many side-stories at the beginning hard to get around until all the threads came together. The story-line was very relevant considering the unrest in the world today and America's love of guns. Very sensitive in terms of the characters' feelings, each one written in the first person, so able to "get inside their heads". The author gave an extraordinary understanding of the horror of war and human suffering. A worthwhile read!
We all enjoyed the book. Several were dubious at the beginning but were won round. The ending , while a relief and enjoyable, was a little 'pat'.
This book engendered a lot of discussion - some members didn't like it, others thought that the language was great but wouldn't rush to read other books by this author, while still other members really loved the whole book. The fact that there was such a diverse range of opinions made sure we had a lengthy and complex discussion.
7 out of our group of 12 chose this book, our most ever - the BDS catalogue listing must be attractive! A few of us struggled with the bleakness of poverty and war fallout, but well developed characters told a memorable story for most.
A good thought-provoking book. Great character portrayals.