We Are Called to Rise What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. At least that's the verbal handshake delivered in most Sin City stories. But then Laura McBride's stirring first… We Are Called to Rise What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. At least that's the verbal handshake delivered in most Sin City stories. But then Laura McBride's stirring first… 2014-06-03 Fiction Simon & Schuster
Book Review

We Are Called To Rise (2014)

WE ARE CALLED TO RISE Laura McBride
WE ARE CALLED TO RISE Laura McBride
EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: Jun 03, 2014; Writer: Laura McBride; Genre: Fiction; Publisher: Simon & Schuster

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. At least that's the verbal handshake delivered in most Sin City stories. But then Laura McBride's stirring first novel, We Are Called to Rise, set in suburban planned developments and trash-strewn rough neighborhoods, is unlike any Vegas tale I've ever read, mostly because it's about the ordinary people who call it home. It is the story of second grader Bashkim, a sweet and nervous boy whose struggling Albanian parents own an ice cream truck. And of 53-year-old Avis, who fears that her only child, Nate, has been ruined by three deployments to Iraq. And of Luis, another broken soldier who starts exchanging letters with Bashkim through a school pen-pal program. And finally, though her sections are the weakest, of Roberta, a social worker who has lost more kids to Vegas' hard streets than she's saved.

Told in pitch-perfect alternating voices — I could read a whole novel just about Luis — Rise is reminiscent of the divisive movie Crash. But McBride loves her characters well, and one feels her own sense of anguish as they hurtle toward catastrophe. Her language is never trite, and the life lessons aren't slick. It turns out that with all that luck and longing and surface transience, Las Vegas is the perfect backdrop for a universal story about the messy wonders of community. A-

Originally posted May 21, 2014 Published in issue #1313-1314 May 30, 2014 Order article reprints
Advertisement

From Our Partners