BookBrowse Reviews This Is How It Begins by Joan Dempsey

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This Is How It Begins

by Joan Dempsey

This Is How It Begins by Joan Dempsey X
This Is How It Begins by Joan Dempsey
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  • Paperback:
    Oct 2017, 399 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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This Is How It Begins is a timely novel about free speech, the importance of empathy, and the bitter consequences of long-buried secrets.

Joan Dempsey's superb debut carries a chill; a raised-hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck kind of undertone that haunts and lingers long after the novel's final sentence.

This is How it Begins opens as art history professor Ludka Zeilonka presses her graduate students at a Massachusetts college to "see" what is missing from a famous (fictional) painting. The painting depicts a street scene in Poland, a snapshot of people going about their daily business at the outset of World War II. It features a small boy, a busker with his bow poised over his violin. The painting is vaguely unsettling, more so to some students than to others, and what is most interesting is how the painting disturbs different individuals. But it is the observation of one of her more astute students that strikes the octogenarian teacher deeply. He notes that there is not a single book in sight.

Indeed, for ...

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