Child of El Salvador is a powerful, well-written story that I couldn’t stop reading once I started it. I was vaguely familiar with the true story this book re-tells, but the writer’s clear and evocatave style kept me turning pages, wanting to know what happened next and how this personal and international problem could possibly be solved. It is the story of a somewhat unorthodox Lutheran minister and his wife who set out to adopt a child from a war-torn country and encounter not only danger but seemingly unsurmountable obstacles. At the same time, a parallel and connected story plays out as the minister tries to help refuges who turn against him and put his life, career and family in danger.
Ms. Durant’s evocative prose transports the reader into every scene, whether it’s the bloody streets of El Salvador, the noisy midway of a state fair in the U.S., or the serenity of a church. She makes us, feel, smell and hear everything in the scene. Most importantly, she makes the reader experience the emotions of the characters–minister, bishops, children, wives and killers. If you only read one book this year, make it this one. It portrays the human condition with all its ugliness and sublimity.