Of Tapestry Time and Tears
About the Book:
“Those who do not learn from the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.” George Santayana’s law of repetitive consequences is applicable not only in the context of history, but also in people’s lives. It is the underlying theme of the novel Of Tapestry, Time and Tears. Of Tapestry, Time and Tears is an epic story of a woman’s journey of painful self-discovery and her participation in the historical events of the twentieth century—the Depression, World War II, India’s Partition, and ultimately, 9/11. Edwina Kleberg is defined by her German and Irish immigrant parents and her life in the Texas Hill Country during the Depression and pre-war years of the 1930’s. As a female writer in the predominately male world of journalism, she is a unique observer to the myriad of hateful global changes through her work as a war correspondent in Italy, but meets an Indian soldier who not only saves her life at the battle of Monte Cassino, but piques her interest about India’s impending break from British rule. Her ultimate assignment takes her to 1946 India. Against the dramatic backdrop of India’s Independence and the violent cruelties of Partition, Edwina commits a series of poor choices, including a tragically poignant romance, all of which transforms her from a naïve egotistical young writer into a mature woman committed to saving the orphans of Delhi. Upon her return to Texas, she is faced with personal demons of loneliness, purposelessness, and alcoholism which miraculously results in her greatest blessing—just as Baba, her beloved sadhu predicted. Each of the characters woven through the story mirrors the complexities of life and how we are permanently affected by the historical era into which we are born. From Rajil Chaudhary, an emotionally tortured man trapped between the modern world of the west and the rigidity of India’s culture, Baba, the colorful sadhu, who guides Edwina through her problems with his rich metaphorical lessons, Nikolai Petrov, the Russian journalist who surreptitiously struggles against the Cold War, Gordon Winchcomb, the hard-edged entrepreneur who secretly believes in the noble magic of Don Quixote to Carl T. Bunch, the Texas rancher hiding a painful secret behind his wild, alcohol-fueled antics—all of the characters are fresh, psychologically complex, and symbolic of life’s difficult choices.
Of Tapestry, Time and Tears begins with tragedy (flooding and destruction of towns in southern Texas in the late 19th century) and ends with tragedy (September 11, 2001). But this book is a story of survival and adaptation, not of defeat and loss.
Edwina Kleberg, the main character, reminded me very much of Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. She is a strong woman who breaks all the rules. She finds forbidden love and doesn’t let life’s circumstances get her down.
The first half of the book focuses mainly on Edwina’s youth, including her time in college, her first important assignment as a reporter during World War II, and her years spent in India, falling in love with the people and the culture.
The second half of the book follows Edwina from age 30 to her 80s and is mainly set in the US. Along the way, she explores Catholicism, Hinduism, and Buddhism in her search for inner peace.
I found this epic book to be a little too large for the author. The description is brilliant and the storyline intriguing, but much of the dialogue is stilted and lacks realism. Nevertheless, I could not put this book down. I just couldn’t wait to see what situation Edwina would get into next.
I give Of Tapestry, Time and Tears four stars. If you are a fan of epic historical fiction, you will enjoy this book!!