Just in time for those with the common New Year’s resolution to “Read More Books,” NPR’s Morning Edition has started their own book club. The premise of the club is simple:
A well-known writer will pick a book he or she loved. We’ll all read it. Then, you’ll send us your questions about the book. And about a month later, we’ll reconvene to talk about the book with the author and the writer who picked it.
This month’s choice, selected by author Ann Patchett, is “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free” by Hector Tobar. Morning Edition is taking questions for Hector Tobar on their Facebook page, and Twitter and Instagram under the hashtag #morningreads. On January 20th the show will select questions and have a conversation with the author.
I heard the description of the book on NPR and while it’s not a book I think I normally would have picked up, I’m glad I did. My main concern during the first chapter or two was whether I would be able to keep straight the many different characters. With 33 miners, all men with sometimes similar names, I started to wonder how I would remember who was who. I needn’t have worried: the author does a terrific job using callbacks and reminders to help the reader along. The story was gripping and well told.
Patchett described the author’s writing thusly: “He’s taking on all of the big issues of life,” she says. “What is life worth? What is the value of one human life? What is faith? Who do we become in our darkest hour?”
Though I remembered how the story ended because of the massive news coverage at the time, I had not realized the details of what was truly a miraculous and surprising rescue. It was fascinating reading about how the miners dealt with such a grim situation only to be faced with a media storm as soon as contact was made – though they remained trapped for many more weeks.
This was a terrific read; it’s a page turner that I would recommend to a broad audience.
Find the book in our catalog record here:
Listen to NPR’s interview with Hector Tobar here: