Book Reviews: December 2019

The latest from Judith Krummeck, Donald Ray Schwartz, and Steven Evans

Lauren LaRocca - December 2019

Book Reviews: December 2019

The latest from Judith Krummeck, Donald Ray Schwartz, and Steven Evans

Lauren LaRocca - December 2019


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Old New Worlds: A Tale of Two Immigrants

Judith Krummeck (Green Writers Press)

Judith Krummeck weaves together two parallel stories of immigration in what’s part memoir, part historical nonfiction, as she traces her lineage back to her great-great-grandparents. George and Sarah Barker left England for Cape Town, Africa, in the early 1800s, where George was a missionary and Sarah became a mother (of nine children!). Krummeck, a classical music radio broadcaster in Baltimore at WBJC, grew up in Africa, where the Barkers had planted her family, and immigrated to America about 20 years ago, eventually landing in Baltimore. Using George’s diaries and letters, and years of research, Krummeck spins a tale of home, family, and sacrifice—200 years apart. While meditating on the emotional impact of immigrating, she also makes ties to politics and cultural aspects of both places and time periods, from apartheid and the mistreatment of the Khoikhoi people to the Baltimore Uprising of 2015. While writing, she realized that few may know of the Barkers, but their lives were significant. Most importantly, Krummeck has written her own story, and that of her family, for many generations to come.

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Deeptide...Vents of Fire

Donald Ray Schwartz and Steven Evans (self-published)

At times, Donald Ray Schwartz’s new novel seems to be a wild goose chase in search of the 21st-century version of the Fountain of Youth. The Pikesville resident writes of female scientists—one a mousy brainiac, the other her foil, a clichéd blond—who lead a team on an expedition at sea to collect DNA from organisms that survive in vents deep in the ocean. They posit that these creatures may contain the answer to life itself, and head out on the expedition in the name of mystery and science (and, maybe not surprisingly for a novel that takes place mostly on a ship, a lot of sex). Though it’s fiction, it was edited by former NASA rocket scientist Steven Evans and raises some thought-provoking questions about the nature of life and how we might benefit from Earth’s original life forms, whose DNA has been unaltered. But as the reader might suspect, once discovered, these advances in science could be used for good or evil. Uncovering the secret to life sound too good to be true? Maybe. But who knows. If this book proves anything, it’s that we may be closer than we think.





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