I received a copy of Stillness Dancing by Jae Erwin in return for an honest review.
Stillness dancing is based in Sinai, Egypt a few years before the Arab Spring uprisings. It is based
around 2 British women Lillian and Lauren who are wanting to view Egypt in the way that the Bedouin live. In the beginning the story shifts timelines and also point of view, which was confusing the first time or two but then as it all started to tie in together, it wasn't distracting at all. I have read many reviews that have described the characters as simple... I have to disagree with this frame of thought. I felt that although there weren't a ton of details about the characters that this was left out on purpose so as not to distract from the overall message of the story. I felt very connected to the main characters a Bedouin man named Karim as well as to Lillian.
Having spent a lot of my career in intelligence studies of differing races I had a basic background knowledge that I brought to this book. I do believe that a bit of background knowledge of the Egyptian Muslim people would be helpful, as the book does make an attempt to describe basic context and speech to keep the reader from being lost but does not delve into the whole background. (After all this isn't a customs and courtesies guide). With that being said I feel that Jae (the author) did a wonderful job of capturing the views of the many differing sides of cultures in their thinking and actions.
There were definitely some sections of the book that addressed some difficult and hard to fathom issues. Terrorism and kidnapping are a big part of this story and I did have tears in my eyes a couple of times. However, the sensitive and difficult topics are definitely addressed but not described in such a way that you have to linger on the visuals to the extent of distracting from the story.
Stillness Dancing addresses many of the similarities (perhaps without meaning to) between the Sinai Muslims and the Native Americans. There are many spiritual aspects to this story. I love that it is based around the universal oneness and love and connecting with one's self. I love that it was not limited to any single religion and therefore relatable to a larger audience.
My favorite quote in the book was: "I begin by remembering the sound and feeling of the One Being, the wellspring of love. I affirm that the next thing I experience shimmers with the light of the whole Universe."
Overall I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars. The story was original, the characters had good character development. I loved the historical fiction aspect and the look into tribal life of the Sinai Bedouins. It was an eye opening experience and perhaps not for the faint of heart, but suggested for those that can look at a race of people with an open mind and heart to see that not everyone is the result of one person of their culture.