• Paperback: 378 pages
• Publisher: Berkley Trade; 1 edition (April 2, 2013)
In 1853, newly married Emma Bowman arrives in Afrida and steps into a world of unsurpassed beauty — and peril.
A page-turning adventure with life and death stakes for the body and the soul…
Born into a life of privilege in rural Georgia, Emma yearns for important work. An ardent passion burns in her soul, spurring her beyond the narrow confines of her family’s slave-holding plantation. She meets and weds Henry Bowman, a tremendously attractive former Texas Ranger twice her age, who has turned from the rifle to the cross. Together with their dreams of serving God they take ship for West Africa. Emma leaves every known thing behind, save a writing box Henry has made for her. In it she carries a red journal and an odd carving made by an old African owned by her father.
The couple’s intimate life has hardly begun when they are beset by illness, treacherous travel, an early pregnancy, a death. Emma opens her heart to Africa, yet at every turn her faith is challenged. In deep night, she turns to the odd carving for comfort and in snatches of calm makes record in her diary. She redoubles her energies, even as she begins to doubt her husband’s sanity. Yet she loves him.
When they hire Jacob, a native assistant to guide their caravan, Emma is confronted with her greatest challenge. Henry’s health begins to fail, and she is drawn deeper into the African world.
Something is revealing itself to her. But is it a haunting mystery from her past or a new revelation coming toward her out of this mysterious continent?
A compelling story of temptation, courage, faith, and the redemptive quality of love, both human and divine, A Different Sun will transport you to a world where tragedy and triumph lie a heartbeat away.
Praise for A Different Sun
Library Journal STARRED Review: Verdict Lush, evocative, breathtaking in its descriptions, and deeply spiritual in its themes of love, forgiveness, and transformation, this extraordinary novel shines with light and depth. Reminiscent of Barbara Kingsolver’s magnum opus, The Poisonwood Bible, with elements of Joseph Conrad and Louise Erdrich, Orr’s stunning debut is starkly beautiful and true to life.
“A magnificent novel that explores the charged juncture between nineteenth-century Africa and the slaveholding South. This is the spellbinding, richly imagined story. —Angela Davis-Gardner, author of Plum Wine and Butterfly’s Child
“A beautiful novel, exquisitely written, perfectly complex, true to the past, relevant today, unforgettable.” —Philip F. Deaver, author of Silent Retreats, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award
“From frontier Georgia to tropical Africa, a dazzling tale of love, cruelty, and redemption,” –Tony Pederson, former executie editor of The Houston Chronicle
“A Cathartic Epic filled with physical and intellectual adventure bordered by psychological drama. It is difficult to write fiction that is as fantastic as it is real.” –Linda Beattie, Louisville Courier-Journal
“As lyrical and passionate a novel as has ever been written.” Lee Smith, NYT Best-Selling Author
“Language so fine, my breath went right out from me.” Eleanor Morse, author of White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Different Sun is a Southern Indie Booksellers Association Best Seller.
Elaine Neil Orr is a trans-Atlantic writer of fiction, memoir, and poetry. Themes of home, country, and spiritual longing run through her writing. A Different Sun: A Novel of Africa, her newest book (Berkley/Penguin, 2013), has been called by Lee Smith “as lyrical and passionate a novel as has ever been written. [It] shines in the mind like a rare gem.” Philip Deaver describes it as“[a] beautiful novel, exquisitely written, perfectly complex, true to the past, relevant today, unforgettable.”
Her memoir, Gods of Noonday (Virginia, 2003), was a Top-20 Book Sense selection and a nominee for the Old North State Award as well as a SIBA Book Award. She is associate editor of a collection of essays on international childhoods, Writing Out of Limbo, and the author of two scholarly books.
Orr has published extensively in literary magazines including The Missouri Review, Blackbird, Shenandoah, and Image Journal. Her short stories and short memoirs have won several Pushcart Prize nominations and competition prizes. She has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
She was born in Nigeria to medical missionary parents and spent her growing-up years in the savannahs and rain forests of that country. Her family remained in Nigeria during its civil war. Orr left West Africa at age sixteen and attended college in Kentucky. She studied creative writing and literature at the University of Louisville before taking her Ph.D. in Literature and Theology at Emory University. She is an award-winning Professor of English at North Carolina State University and serves on the faculty of the brief-residency MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University. She reads and lectures widely at universities and conferences from Atlanta to Austin to San Francisco to Vancouver to New York to Washington D.C., and in Nigeria.
Orr lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband, Anderson Orr.
Elaine’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, January 14th: Respiring Thoughts
Thursday, January 16th: Unabridged Chick
Monday, January 20th: Little Lovely Books
Tuesday, January 21st: What She Read
Wednesday, January 22nd: Book Dilettante
Thursday, January 23rd: A Book Geek
Monday, January 27th: Books and Movies
Tuesday, January 28th: Bookie Wookie
Wednesday, January 29th: Ageless Pages Reviews (Q&A)
Monday, February 3rd: Lit and Life
Wednesday, February 5th: Cold Read