The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 48

48
NOVEMBER 2014
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
and discovery. Sixty-five riding days later, he reached his goal:
riding up to and across the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge in
San Francisco.
Along the way, he faced many trials, including strong
headwinds and severe weather, riding his loaded bike over the
Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada, crossing the Great Plains
in brutal summer heat, dealing with the aftermath of a collision
with a car and traversing the Nevada basin and range country
and the Great Salt Lake’s desert. But the spectacular landscapes
and grand vistas afforded just as many rewards.
In
Old Man on a Bicycle
, Petterson relates how he prepared
for the journey and gives a crisp, detailed account of what
he saw and did during two months on the road. Combining
journal entries and reflective commentary, the compelling
narrative includes thoughtful discussion about the meaning of
aging and research-based advice on its physical aspects that all
readers of a certain age will find valuable—bicyclists or not.
Don Petterson’s Foreign Service career included ambassa-
dorships to Somalia, Tanzania and Sudan. He is the author of
Inside Sudan
(Basic Books, 2003) and
Revolution in Zanzibar
(Basic Books, 2004).
A Man Named Jay
Damian Wampler, self-
published, 2014, $41.41,
paperback, 35 pages.
A Man Named Jay
is a tribute to
the late Jason Whitney Chellew
(1973-2006) by his friend Damian
Wampler. He wrote the book for
Jason’s son, who never had the
chance to meet his father.
An avid traveler, Jason Chellew met his wife, Pei, while
traveling in Taiwan. The two married, relocated back to Califor-
nia, and were expecting their first child when Jason tragically
died. He was in his home when a sinkhole opened beneath the
house; by the time rescue workers finally reached him, it was
too late. Pei gave birth to their son, Phoenix, four months later.
In this short, whimsical and richly illustrated book, Wampler
paints a poignant portrait for Phoenix of his father, Jay.
Damian Wampler, a photographer, playwright and graphic
novelist, joined the Foreign Service in 2009. He has served in
Dushanbe and Harare, and is now posted in Karachi. Prior to
joining the Service, he had served with the Mercy Corps and as
a Peace Corps Volunteer, with Jason Chellew, in Kyrgyzstan.
FICTION AND POETRY
Whisper in Bucharest
Kiki Skagen Munshi, Compania, 2014,
35 Romanian LEI ($10.15), paperback,
344 pages.
Kiki SkagenMunshi’s intimate knowledge
and appreciation of all things Romanian
propels this passionate novel, covering the
country’s turbulent history from1939 to
1987. It draws much of its inspiration from
the life of GeorgeMuntean, who was born in Bilca and for whom
the loss of northern Bukovina was an unhealed wound. However, as
Munshi says in her introduction, “Authors are thieves, stealing bits
and pieces of other people’s lives and weaving them into the stories
they create.This book is not about any actual individual, living or
dead, but it contains snatches of many conversations andmemories
generously shared by Romanian friends and acquaintances.”
Kiki SkagenMunshi joined the U.S. Information Agency in 1980.
Her Foreign Service career was bookended by postings to Bucha-
rest: After serving as assistant cultural attaché during her second
tour, she returned nearly 20 years later as counselor for public
affairs. Other assignments included Lagos, Bucharest, Athens,
Freetown, Dar es Salaam, NewDelhi andWashington, D.C.
ThoughMunshi retired from the Foreign Service in 2002, she
returned to head a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Baquba,
Iraq, from 2006 to 2007. She received a doctorate in Romanian his-
tory from the University of Bucharest in 2006, speaks the language
fluently, and continues to visit the country regularly.
This book can be ordered online at
ecommerce/fiction/whisper-in-bucharest.
The Feller from Fortune
Robert Mearkle, Lulu Publishing,
2014, $12.45/paperback, $2.99/Kindle,
230 pages.
Inspired by a Newfoundland folk song,
FSO Robert Mearkle wrote
The Feller from
Fortune
during Arabic-language training,
as “daydreaming of chilly North Atlantic
breezes in a simpler time provided refuge
from the Arabic verb system and the desert blaze to come.”
His novel is set in a sleepy fishing village in Newfoundland
during the 1940s. Cat Harbour has the expected number of drunk
sailors and loose girls—and a library. The arrival of two visitors,
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