Item description for The Fountain at the Center of the World by Robert Newman...
The three-strand narrative of this lively thriller starts with Chano Salgado, a reclusive young widower being chased by police and soldiers for blowing up pipelines that were draining the local groundwater. Meanwhile, in London, PR flack Evan Hatch is dying from leukemia. Hoping to find a bone marrow donor, he tracks down his long-lost brother in Mexico. In the third strand, Salgado's 14-year-old son, given up for adoption, goes on his own journey to find his father --- a trip that will tie together all three strands in an unforgettable ending. An intricately plotted political thriller, The Fountain at the Center of the World is based on exhaustive research and the author's compelling mix of political analysis and human compassion.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 8.75" Weight: 1 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2004
Publisher Soft Skull Press
ISBN 1932360115 ISBN13 9781932360110
Reviews - What do customers think about The Fountain at the Center of the World?
Well Worth the Read!!! Jul 28, 2005
This is one of those book that before you are a few pages in, you know it's gonna be great. By the time I had read 20 pages I was going online and recommending it. It's one of those books you start reading and you can hardly put it down till you finish. It's very Dickensonian, in the very best sense, making real the lives of the poor, the global poor, as well as the WTO rich. It follows the lives of two brothers, Chano, a poor Mexican activist, and Evan, adopted by a rich British family, one of the World Trade Organization's movers and shakers. There's a Prince and the Pauper touch as well when the poor brother replaces the rich to speak to those in power, who, of course, hear only what they want to hear. There's also the story of Chano seeking his lost son Daniel who always seems to be flittering just out of his reach. I believe, as humans, that we like our lessons wrapped in stories, that stories makes it easier for us to learn, to understand. The story of Chano and Evan and Daniel is wrapped around a lesson about globalization, about the World Trade Organization, NAFTA and the Mexican maquiladora plants near the border, plants that pollute the environment and poison their workers - because they can. The human stories make the global economic stories easier to understand. It's also wrapped around the Seattle protests against the WTO, making them mythic in an almost John Reed way. It makes you wanna be there, well, except for the beating and shooting and gassing....
The Fountain at the Center of the World is a book about global issues but also about personal issues and how the two intersect. That's something that's left out of books these days. People in most books seem to live in a vacuum, unaffected by global issues while, in reality, all are affected. The Fountain at the Center of the World shows us how we are affected, shows us in the stories of the dying Evan, the despairing Chano and the lost Daniel. Despite Evan's wealth, his intelligence, his support for and his knowledge about the system, he is isolated even in his death. Chano and Daniel are surrounded by friends and allies who help them survive and escape as they try to make the world a better place. As does this book.
Well worth the read!!
forced Mar 27, 2005
the story felt forced and the characters and the storyline were predictable. it was as if the story was written around the argument, which was: the dehumanizing effects of globalization. the two main characters: chano & evan, separated not only by geography but the differing realities of the globalized world, each interprets the present condition of the world according to the environment which formed them.
this book pushed hard for a new vocabulary, a new understanding of our globalized world both linguistically and emotionally. but it fails to convince perhaps because the world newman constructs, an audacious one where poor mexican gives a speech to a international convention in seattle under an assumed identity, where a young 14 year old boy stows away on a boat to england, then somehow ends up in the u.s., becomes an activist in bolivia, etc. cannot be held in a logical tension with the accurate portrayal of the world the author tries to convey.
but it is the only book out there that tries to bridge the experiential gap between the developing world and developed world within the framework of globalization and for that it deserves three stars.
Well worth your time! Sep 15, 2004
This novel deserves a wide audience. It is well-written and profound on many levels. It is not merely about the WTO meetings/protests in Seattle in 1999 but about people in the first and third worlds and the lives they lead. I found the characters fascinating. The author's insights into the characters really moved me. All the characters came alive for me. Give the book a chance and you won't be dissapointed. I plan to seek out the author's other works. He deserves to be better known and more widely read.
Not what I expected Sep 1, 2004
The subject matter intrigued me. The backdrop of the Seattle riots was informative and interesting.
But I just couldn't get into it. Everything seemed one-dimensional. It was like a political instruction booklet, except, poorly disguised as fiction. Mind you, I happen to agree with the author's politics, but I found the book quite flat.
The descriptions of the riots were good, but the characters seem poorly constructed. They were mostly one dimensional (even the young Mexican police captain who practiced yoga in his office)
None of the characters had the complexity that is often inherent in people. Nor did its subject matter seem complex. Which is interesting, since, humans, expecially interesting people tend to be complex, just like provocative topics like globalization.
In addition, the book relies too much of its politics on a black and white, us versus them, we're always right -they wrong perspective. Personally, I believe that complex topics are not covered well or done much justice, if the approach is that constricting.
At other times the book can get over-the-top sappy (politically).
I liked "No Logo" better.
A grand tale that informs Jun 1, 2004
What a lovely book. Fearing a screaming polemic, The Fountain at the Center of the World is a humane look at differing sides of the WTO issue told through a family. This is an enlightening look at the Seattle WTO conflict told vertically as well as horizontally by the adventures of two brothers and a son separated by life. All three meet eventually in what was the battle in Seattle. Newman is an extraordinary author who we can look forward to more good work.