The Book of Jonas is the debut novel from Stephen Dau and it is a heart-wrenching and very well written book.
The book tells the story of Jonas, a 15 year old Muslim boy who lost everything (his whole family, everything) in an American raid on his town. He is brought to America to live with a foster family and deal with his grief and attempt to rebuild his life. But he can't rebuild his life until he deals with his past. And there is a lot to deal with in that past.
Stephen Dau is a wonderful writer and he tells Jonas' story -- and that of Christopher and Rose -- through quietly beautiful prose. Prose that, to me, seemed to respect the weight of the stories.
Indeed, this is not a light book but it is worth the read. I've struggled through some other BlogHer Book Club books -- notably, The Kid by Sapphire -- and wished that I hadn't had to visualize certain characters, scenes, or situations. At first, I thought The Book of Jonas was going to be another one of those books. I thought I was going to regret reading it or not be able to handle the sadness.
It is a credit to Dau's writing that I didn't regret reading it. And while the story weighed on me, I was glad to let myself be part of it as it unfolded.