John Rosenwald and his wife spent years teaching in China. Today they live in central Maine. They sat in front of us at Janet Mills’ inauguration, and we enjoyed a great visit. After hearing about their experiences in China, I was intrigued when John told me he’d written a novel.
Here’s how he explained it to me: “its fundamental vision is that of achieving harmony between people and between countries, using as a metaphor the experiences of a couple who spend much of their lives traveling between Maine and China.”
I quickly ordered up a copy of his book, The Feast of Steven, and found it very interesting. John takes you back and forth between China and Maine, and in time. At the back of the book it is described as “an attempt to read harmony among drama, expository prose, poetry, and fiction within the hybrid experiment he calls The Feast of Steven.”
John does an especially good job with dialogue, which keeps the stories moving rapidly. Most of the stories stand alone. In John’s words, “each one represents an attempt to deal with a question central to human existence: a sense of place, the relationship between humans and other animals, causes and costs of violence, the act of teaching and learning, limits and lures of sexuality, the preparation and consumption of food in the communal setting, and the processes of dying and death.”
Yes, there’s a lot to this book!