a novel by Deborah Rice
Spinning Wool in the Mouth of the Monster is a contemporary mainstream novel of female adventure and self-discovery set in the crucible of the Kosovo Crisis.
Nancy Pelham is determined to reclaim hidden roots from her parents’ land of origin. At the height of the Kosovo Crisis she plunges straight from a New York medical school into work at an Albanian refugee camp. When newly discovered relatives die there in her arms, she vows to recover the child torn from them in their flight—and ends up braving the war zone itself, with a disquietingly attractive documenter of war crimes who looks disquietingly like the Serbs she has come to hate.
Their uneasily conjoined quests lead them to her grandmother’s high mountain village, the knowledge that her long-lost uncle is threatened by the ancient blood feud, the danger-girt hideout of the lost child, and a showdown with the dark half of himself her companion hopes to destroy.
At a time when the admirable The Tiger’s Wife has opened our minds to the complexities and depth of the Balkan soul—and Angelina Jolie’s recently released film, In the Land of Blood and Honey, to the tragedy of the Bosnian War which immediately preceded the Kosovo Crisis in the breakup of Yugoslavia—Spinning Wool opens a window, the eyes of an American-raised ethnic Albanian, through which other modern descendants from other ancient ancestral cultures may explore the implications for all of us of situations like the Kosovo Crisis.
Spinning Wool in the Mouth of the Monster is the working title of Deborah’s latest novel, now with an agent securing placement with a publisher.