Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A Time to be Brave by Adrienne Nash (fiction)

Prolific author Adrienne Nash who, according to her bio, suffered for decades from the torment of gender dysphoria and has now lived over half her life as a woman, generally writes excellent novels featuring transgender protagonists. In "A Time to Be Brave", she abandons her usual genre and has penned an exciting and intricate work about a young woman who is dealing with a classic internal struggle that many of us, transgender or not, face.

In this Nash creation, as protagonist Helen unknowingly and almost naively begins her journey toward self-acceptance, she discovers who she is, unwittingly coming to terms with herself. For this reviewer, Helen represents those of us who are searching for who we truly are.

Prior to the turn of the 20th century the much maligned but brilliant German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche wrote, "The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us." In the character of Helen, Nash has created a sympathetic woman who is struggling with her own demons, caught up in her need for healing; unaware and not even realizing the extent to which her thoughts and fears are impacting her. Trying to counter a vague sense of internal discord and move through her past trauma by utilizing workaholic endeavors and the avoidance of an intimate interpersonal relationship, Helen uncovers a mystery that leads her on a trail to brutally honest introspection, self discovery and finally, acceptance.

Nash’s way with words is astounding and she has produced some incredible prose, particularly in her account of the sailing sequence, writing that depicts a Winslow Homer-like battle for survival against a roiling sea. Sensitive and thoughtful, "A Time to Be Brave" is not to be missed by the thinking reader.

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