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EAST END: JASON ALLEN


About the Author: Jason Allen grew up in a working-class home in the Hamptons, where he worked a variety of blue-collar jobs for wealthy estate owners. He writes fiction, poetry, and memoir, and is the author of the poetry collection A Meditation on Fire. He has an MFA from Pacific University and a PhD in … Continue reading

Where will my Heart Beat? Spirits connect at times and lives intertwine without warning. The loss of a sibling is traumatic and hard to get over. Hauntings from your past can hinder your present. Serene seems caught up in a world she cannot explain and dealing with her present life cause her to escape. Married with a child she seems to love her daughter but something within her haunts her and she cannot settle on what it is. As a physical therapist she is enlisted to help those in need . A short encounter at the start of the novel with someone referred to as Mr J starts a chain of events in her mind bringing her to her mother who hands her a notebook explaining nightmares and dreams that might help her to understand but insist sends her away. After reading the notebook and envisioning what is related she decides to go off to Mar Elias with her friend Sonia to sort out her feelings, deal with her thoughts and decide on her life. Even though she loves her daughter and her husband seems angered and resentful she goes off to find herself and haunted by her meeting with Mr J. Adel Jacob comes from a wealthy family filled with their own secrets, rules, prejudices and mores. His father is the Mayor of Crescent and his mother has her own interests and their views about people tell readers that they are narrow minded and judgmental. Getting to know them you realize that Adel is a model son but when you meet his brother Aslan a wave of chills and ice will pass over you. Adel is polite, loves his Nana and respects all adults while Aslan orders people around, abuses Adel anyway he can and manipulates his parents who seemed blinded by his actions. Losing her brother took a toll on Serene and often as with Adel when they intersect later on you can feel the despair liss of hope and feeling of giving up. Sonia is her true friend and hopes to help her thrower depression but that black cloud lingers throughout the novel. Adel has a best friend named Malec who helps around his estate. Their friendship was strong but jealousy and cruelty would take his life. His sister,Mona was Adel’s love but when Malec was killed she inverted into herself and her mother could no longer cope with life. Aslan was heartless and determined to destroy Adel and an accident but an intentional push down a flight of stairs took away his mobility and put Adel in a wheelchair with limited range of being able to walk. With Serene assigned to provide his therapy it would take time before they actually connect. Learning more about Adel’s family, his father’s plans for Crescent , the landscape, the projects to enhance the town, the community that has wonderful people but a sinister mind that wanted theses changes and control of the construction project for his own financial gain. Mona became withdrawn when her brother dies and Serene although older seemed lost in her thoughts and past and at times caught up in her grief. Mona was depressed but unheard truths will linger and be revealed when Abel is older but will he be able to face another harsh reality about his family? Serene had a surge of energy that formed one night and she could not understand it at first. She had to synchronize with the waves of feelings that channeled within her. As we learn more about Adel and the fact that after the accident he left his home and would return 25 years later. His part were killed in an accident and Mona drowned and Malec was gone as he hunted for answers that would take him face to face with Aslan and some harsh realities that he would need to understand and face. Eeman was his Nana’s day nurse before losing her too. Nana Thabita provides the sage wisdom and hopefully the impetus for Adel to make those positive changes for Crescent and the people but we soon learn that Aslan wanted certain controls and although the estate was left to Adel you won’t believe what happens when he meets him face to face as they created change in their hospital and other places and his brother although appears to care the author allows readers to see his countenance and feel the hidden truths. Reading his thoughts on pages 250-252 you understand that his life was just one fleeting moment. If an opportunity comes your way can you circle back ? Should you lose hope? Some give up while Adel has to find his own circle of life and define his circumference and his destiny. His relationship with Serene takes many turns and like the rainbow she saw her parents vanished off the surface of the earth and when you read her final words you wonder why she spoke and did as she related. Marrying Eeman enriched his life but two harsh truths would shake his spirit to the core. Pictures, pasts, learning about Eeman from Serene, Adel sees himself through different eyes. The final scenes are compelling and tragic as Adel realizes the magnitude of his brother’s goals and deception. Who killed his dog, did Mona drown or was she killed and did someone throw rocks at Malec? Serene left her final words to her daughter and missed some valuable moments in her life . “ it was fear of defeat that claims you before you actually lose something.” As Sonia presents Adel with her tragic words. His final moments sun it all up as those he loved are gone and now he dreams of what he thinks the people are relating: anger, protests and discontent but is it real or his imagination? Reliving the past he realizes the present: nothing scares him anymore. He has come full circle and his circle of life as created by author Loubna Hassanieh,PhD, is both tragic and yet hopeful at times as Adel must decide for himself and the look someone is leaving him with as he has to decide: where will my heart beat now? Characters filled with hope, despair, disharmony, deception and a town with people that just wanted to appreciate its beauty, culture and history. A story filled with family discord, parents blinded by their own lives and disregarded the evil of a sin who needed mental help, this is a must read for everyone. Fran Lewis just reviews


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