Summary and book reviews of Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann

Random Acts of Heroic Love

by Danny Scheinmann

Random Acts of Heroic Love
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  • Published:
    Jan 2009, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Vy Armour

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Book Summary

Based on real family events, Danny Scheinmann’s novel paints a dramatic portrait of two apparently unconnected epic love stories.

1992: Traveling through South America with his girlfriend, Leo wakes up in a hospital to find his girlfriend is dead. He blames himself for the tragedy and is sucked into a spiral of despair. But a surprising secret leads Leo to discover something that will change his life forever.

1917: Moritz is a POW fugitive, with seven thousand kilometers of the Russian steppes separating him from his first love, whose memory has kept him alive through carnage and captivity. The war may be over, but he now faces a perilous journey and the insecurity of whether his love is still waiting.

1

THE MIND AFTER A SHARP BLOW TO THE HEAD IS LIKE A HOUSE after a hurricane: unrecognizable shards, shreds and splinters.

Fragments of memory lie scattered in the wreckage. All the pieces are there, somewhere – but the landscape is so distorted that, stumbling across them, the brain has no idea what they are or where they are from.

'Where is Eleni?'

'Muerta,' says the doctor.

Leo's eyes close, he is oddly calm watching the bomb hurtle towards him. One last look before he is swept away. He searches his mind and does not recognize the view. A thick fog smothers everything; he can just make out a few faintly familiar shapes. Muerta. He already knows she is dead. At the point of asking he had no idea but when he hears the answer it sounds like the confirmation of a memory he can't seem to bring to his mind. Something lurches out of the blur into sharp focus. Eleni. Droplet brown eyes, rich mane of ebony curls, bundle of electric energy, singing....

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

A visit to Scheinmann's website reveals his inspirations and motivations, as he remarks, "To tell a love story is one thing, (it's all very nice, been done a million times, never fails) but is it possible to go deeper in to the psyche of the reader and move them far more profoundly?" Using his ideas about oral storytelling and the subconscious, he seeks to engage the rational mind of the reader with discussions of quantum physics and scientific phenomenon, and loosen his or her emotional response to the more elusive concepts of love and loss.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has lost a loved one and struggled to make sense of the "Why?"   (Reviewed by Vy Armour).

Full Review Members Only (782 words).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

While at times predictable and prosaic, the mutually reinforcing narratives ultimately convey debut novelist Scheinmann's message of the redemptive power of love.

Publishers Weekly

Dotted with strange scientific trivia, this beautiful debut novel provides deft moments of poignancy and surprise.

Library Journal - Jim Coan

Absorbing and emotionally engaging, this novel, evidently popular in England, should have broad appeal and is recommended for collections that have a demand for quality historical fiction and moving human interest stories.

The Observer

"Scheinmann's debut is tender and insightful, weaving together the lives of two men who have nothing in common except the parallel passions of hope and grieving and their refusal to give up searching.

The Sunday Express

Really is as special as its press suggests ... beautifully told ... an amazingly assured debut.

Reader Reviews

PDXReader

Beautifully written novel in all respects
The chapters that follow Moritz Daniecki’s WWI exploits are marvelous historical fiction. They’re rich in detail without bogging down. His story is the more entertaining one, something like the story of Odysseus - without the gods and monsters (...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Animal Behaviors in Grief and Mating

There have been many observations of elephants grieving.  In Joyce Poole's Coming of Age With Elephants,  Poole illustrates the depth of elephant grieving. A clan of elephants was moving towards newer territory, when suddenly one of the elephants fell over. Soon enough the other elephants noticed that one of their group was in trouble. Arriving by the elephant's side, they realized she was not moving. They attempted to get her up on her feet but to no avail. The elephants then left the dead body and moved on. The next day, elephants returned to mourn and pay homage to the lost friend, family member, clan member and elephant. As observed by Poole, when an ...

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