Spy thrillers are a staple of airport book racks. They play on our fears of how the world works just enough to give us a thrill and are as forgettable as yesterday’s tweets.
Bob Shacochis’ superb new novel is not that kind of book. “The Woman Who Lost Her Soul” is set amid wars and occupations and is peopled by members of arcane intelligence agencies, but it plays a deep game, and it will haunt your dreams. In its first pages, a character muses that “when Americans pray, they pray first that history will step aside and leave them alone, they pray for the deafness that comes with a comfortable life.” The novel explores why such prayers may not be answered.
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The Woman Who Lost Her Soul
Atlantic Monthly Press, $28