“Chasing Mercury” ticked all the right boxes of what I consider an amazing book deserving of a high rating. It has everything that I want from a good read – memorable characters, a plot that edges on the personal, the collective, and the political, and a curious take on what seems like usual human destinies, yet with enough distinctive elements to separate it from the most of new editions, and keep it readable at the same time.
It has a down-to-earth, yet intelligent dialogue with past pace. Written mostly in the present tense it is as exciting, as it is palpable and nourishing.
September Willams knows how to work with exquisite character-shaping and entice readers to develop a crush, even fall in love with them, not in the conventional romantic way, but in an inquisitive and reader-friendly way.
Sentences draw you in deliberately, just like a book is supposed to, transferring you in another world, turning you into a close mute observer of a touching intimate story. The reading hugs you slowly until it overwhelms you and you find yourself rooting for the characters, despite their imperfections.
This is a story about two strong-willed and ambitious dancers, a 5’ 9” tall African American ballerina named Sicily and a Native American Powwows dance artist named Foster. Sicily and Foster are powerful leads, young, smart, energetic, attractive, ambitious and headstrong.
Their love starts with an instant attraction and, as expected, develops not without its problems. It is a love story with integrity, and without mush or lovey-dovey elements typical for romance novels.
Although there are romance and erotica, it is not the only thread of the plot, as Willimas throws in a bit of history and politics into the concoction with the mercury poisoning narrative.
Mercury poisoning is no laughing matter and this book is a clever way to raise awareness about a persistent global problem that now intertwines with the character destinies.
You will witness Sicily’s incessant effort to make it in the ballet world – a necessary ingredient for anyone wishing to survive in the merciless world of ballet (Misty Copeland, anyone?) and Foster’s struggle with the inherited piece of land which he later sells, challenging the story exactly because of the mercury included.
“Chasing Mercury” jumps out from a standard linear narrative but that’s precisely why I enjoyed this book so much. I hope you do, too. To wrap it up, this was one of the best first novels I’ve read in a while, and I vividly remember its individuality despite reading it more than two years ago.
As promised by the author, two more sequels are in the making.
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