The Lit. Chick
By Heather Brush
“A Walk Across the Sun,” by Corban Addison, Sterling Publishing, $24.95, 384 pages, ISBN: 978-1-4027-9280-9
“We’re taught in history class that slavery ended with the Civil War,” says author Corban Addison, “when in reality there are more slaves alive in the world today than ever before.” Two million children are exploited in the global sex trade. Trafficking in persons touches every nation on the globe and reaps $32 billion in profits worldwide each year. Addison’s novel explores the plight of human trafficking in India and in the U.S.
Teenaged sisters Ahalya and Sita face devastation as a tsunami tears their world apart, killing their parents, taking their home, and sending them out into the world with no one to protect them. The big bad wolf is lurking around every corner, ready to take everything the girls have left, in the way of body and soul.
Kidnapped and sold to a brothel, Ahalya tries desperately to protect her little sister and is raped repeatedly in the process. Convinced that her karma has caught up with her, she begins to accept her new life as a prostitute. Sita is sold again and again and the sisters are devastatingly separated.
Washington, D.C. attorney Thomas Clark finds himself thrust into the world of Bombay brothels in a twist of fate that wields him away from his proposed goals to aspire to the bench, but towards a reconnection with his estranged Indian wife. This would-be hero is ignorant to the dire consequences of human trafficking, and receives a crash course in his attempts to make a difference. His knowledge of law means little in India, but his determination means everything.
Winding through the novel are parallel love stories between Thomas and his wife and Ahalya and Sita. Sisters going through dire circumstance and a couple going through the saddest situations of the loss of a child and the betrayal of a life mate. Moments of fast paced thrill are interspersed with bits of cultural beauty while investigations and law teams offer intellectual stimulation.
The book is well done logistically but left me wanting more raw character emotion and Indian culture to shine through. As it is, “A Walk Across the Sun” gives a taste of Bombay, as much as a glimpse of the political world of law. The focus of the book is to shine a light on human trafficking and entice reaction from readers to make a change. In this, the book is purposeful and appreciated.
Addison lives in Virginia and holds degrees in law and engineering from the University of Virginia and California Polytechnic State University. This is his first novel.