Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Walk Across the Sun

I stopped reading when I started my PhD. PhD was overwhelming in the beginning and I had a lot to take in. After having to read too many journals in a day, I just lost interest in books when I got home after work.

After sending off my mom through the security gate at Heathrow Airport earlier this month, the '2 for 1' advertisement at WHS Smith caught my attention. Then I saw this book on the front shelf. Read the synopsis at the back of the book and next time I knew, I went deeper into the store where they had a bigger book display. After perusing the shelves for a good 5 mins, I went to the till and got myself two books, and started to read immediately while waiting for my coach back to Nottingham. 'New year resolution', I thought to myself.


A Walk Across the Sun, Corban Addison's debut tells the story of misfortune of two sisters post-tsunami in India. They were trafficked to become sex slaves. Also, there is a lawyer who found himself interning with a NGO that work on sexual exploitation in Bombay, away from his comfortable desk at a big law firm in Washington DC. Their stories intertwined and their destinies changed.

A Walk Across the Sun is a bundle of emotions. Anger, sadness, frustration, anxiety, resentment, hope and happiness all wrapped up in one book.

Angry because there was too much of a corruption than my brain could handle, frustrated knowing there is another world beside the one we are living where evil trumps, anxious waiting for the girls to be rescued, sad for the hero who fell short in the rescue attempt, hopeful that the girls would see better days of their lives and happy for just many reasons. I was so glued to the book that every evening I couldn't wait to go home to know what's going to happen next. Parts where he told about the rescuing attempts, I felt the adrenaline rush and immediately sat down instead of lying on my bed. I cried tears of happiness at the end of the book, not a lot of books could do that to me. I grew resentment towards Indian police and its juridical system for the intolerable level of corruption, even though the book is fiction. So.many.emotions. Addison did a great job for his first book. 

What I particularly like about the book is the message it conveys. Books I read before were mostly chick-lits, with trivial take home message. I felt so close to the human trafficking issues than ever before. I used to volunteer with one NGO in Malaysia that work on this cause. Hearing stories about the kids at the centre overwhelmed me, but this book takes it to a whole other level. The most important message of this book lies in the conversation between Dietrich Klein (sex slave trader) and Sita (one of the sisters:

"Klein: Do you know why you are here? You are not here because I enjoy the sale of sex. You are here because men enjoy the purchase of it."

I think it's good for movie adaptation, but then again, usually adaptions aren't nearly as good as the original work. The writer had done an extensive research on this subject to write such a great, well-thought out book, the movie might not do justice.


Picking up a great book with no reference whatsoever is definitely a win! I wish to read more books but this book has set a really high benchmark, I'm worried the next one will bore me and then I will stop reading again. We shall see.

If any of you are interested to read about the facts of human trafficking, here are few links provided by the author:

The CNN Freedom Project

When I read the book and then the links, the similarities took me by surprise. The book is a fiction as true as the reality. This thing is REAL. It's happening outside the book, outside our doors, in an underworld. The stats are so depressing!

I leave you with my favorite quotes from the book.