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A Dark Oval Stone: Novel [Hardcover]

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Item description for A Dark Oval Stone: Novel by Marsena Konkle...

Haunted by the death of her two brothers, and living under the shadow of her pious mother, Miriam Kovatch is thirtysomething, pregnant, and suddenly widowed. Her search for hope and purpose---from this startling new voice in literary fiction---is unforgettable. When her husband suddenly dies, Miriam Kovatch finds herself thrust into a journey of self-discovery, at odds with friends and family. Her search for meaning will take her to the brink of despair. With her temperamental cat and only a few belongings, Miriam finds refuge in a motel under the watchful eye of a caring stranger, who gives her hope, purpose, and a mysterious dark oval stone. In this poignant debut novel full of unforgetttable characters, Miriam begins the painful process of embracing a much fuller life, sustained by unexpected friendship and surprising grace.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Paraclete Press
Pages   232
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.1" Width: 5.7" Height: 1"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2006
Publisher   Paraclete Press (MA)
ISBN  1557254273  
ISBN13  9781557254276  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Action & Adventure
4Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > Psychological & Suspense

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about A Dark Oval Stone: Novel?

EXCELLENT  Jan 17, 2007
This was such a beautifully written novel. I can't wait for more books from this gifted writer.
A captivating book with memorable, if familiar, characters.  Jul 25, 2006
I am a sleep-deprived mother of two young boys, and I read this book every spare minute I had, and finished it in three days (quite remarkable for me). Throughout the day, I found that my thoughts overlapped into Miriam's world, even when I wasn't reading the book. The growth we see in Miriam in the end, with her friend Esther, her sister Theresa, is so encouraging. Miriam's relationships with her family and friends are complicated, but real, and sometimes familiar. Though sobering and sometimes heavy, I thoroughly enjoyed journeying along with Miriam in her search for hope and love.
words that stayed with me  Apr 2, 2006
Konkle's book started strong and kept me wanting for more until the end. Miriam is a character I identified with, and I found myself hoping she would find her way through the pain she faced throughout the book. The people, places, and events carried me from one chapter to the next, not wanting to put the book down.

Konkle's polished writing made me feel as if I was in Miriam's world of loss with her. Miriam's pain and loss resonated through the pages. The imagery and choice of words have stayed with me long after finishing the final chapter. It won't be long before I take A Dark Oval Stone off my shelf to read it again.
A Dark Oval Stone  Apr 2, 2006
Exploring loss and grief and their effects on a person's hope and faith, Marsena Konkle's debut novel, `A Dark Oval Stone' is a haunting read that will captivate you from the first sentence to the last.
Its protagonist, Miriam Kovatch, has experienced more loss than one person can be expected to endure. At the point in her life when we first meet her she has already had to deal with the deaths of both her parents and two of her brothers. Shortly afterwards, she also becomes a widow after her husband suffers a fatal heart attack while shovelling snow in their driveway.
But into this loss comes new life when Miriam finds out, mere weeks after losing her husband, that she is pregnant with the couple's first child. Devastated by the prospects of raising this child on her own, Miriam struggles with what it will mean to become a single mother.
Having been raised in the Catholic Church under the thumb of her overbearing mother, Miriam's faith has always been based in fear and out of a sense of duty. She begins to find a more spiritual connection after meeting Svetlana, a former legal client of her husband's, who shows her a different side of the man she thought she knew so well.
During her journey to self-discovery, Miriam also realizes some harsh truths about herself and is forced to make some changes in her life. As Konkle puts it, "She had always believed that others perceived her as she wanted to see herself: as a self-sacrificing and giving person, always on hand to relieve the burdens of others. The self-delusion now popped like a balloon in her chest, radiating real pain."
`A Dark Oval Stone' is an emotional journey in itself. While reading this book, I found myself crying, laughing and hoping with the main character. Miriam came alive and her pain oozed out of the pages like hot syrup bubbling in a pan. She is one of those characters who won't let you go immediately after you finish reading and put the book back on the shelf. She will pull at you, causing you to think about her and wondering how she is doing.
Konkle ends the book on a hopeful note, but there are many unanswered questions. We are only given a glimpse of Miriam's life and I was left wanting to know much more. This is in no way a criticism of Konkle's ability, rather it is a testament to the author's style. I am looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next and getting acquainted with more of her characters. If they are anything like Miriam, they will be added to my list of literary friends.
Marsena Konkle's Ambition Shines  Mar 15, 2006
In her first novel, A Dark Oval Stone, Marsena Konkle begins with an ambition that never fades. Her ambition is not marred by overreaching but runs as steady and true to course as a weighty train on polished tracks. She sets out to create a world of her own, and does, bringing a dead body crashing down in the middle of the first chapter. From that moment there is no letup in the momentum or the growing complexity of interrelationships in her novel. One of her great gifts is the clarity of observation and the precision of her language. There may be a reach to make her story too user friendly and politically correct, so that some of her characters we seem to have seen before--the tense Asian beauty, the gay brother, the understated, understanding priest--but the steady procession of page after page of clear and shining prose moves reservations one might have to the background. The ambition that shines through her book is her dedication to do no more and no less than each scene demands, the sort of understated beauty, running under a steady hand, that is seldom seen in first novels and, indeed, in a good deal of contemporary prose. The glow in the warmth of the prose begins to shine with a greater light of the One we see she pursues. It's a beautiful first book that the attentive reader should not miss.

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