Promise of Departure MOBI Þ Promise of Epub /

A broken mechanic packs his motorcycle and heads to Haiti to repair his own crumbling life My dearest little MaggieI'm sorry in ways you may never understand Please know that I never wanted to leave youIt wasn't the traditional birthday letter Greg had written his daughter four times before But traditions like everything else had utterly unraveledAdrift in a workaday society he no longer recognizes Greg is rattled in unexpected ways by the heartbreak in Haiti that clear January morning when he spots an unusual opportunity in the looped nightly news something he can do a small way he just might be able to helpFacing divorce and an anesthetized hereafter Greg shucks tradition and packs his motorcycle headed to a shattered country to unexpectedly find the one thing he's abandoned

10 thoughts on “Promise of Departure

  1. I was provided with a complimentary copy of the book for reviewPromise of Departure is a rare animal indeed It is at times humorous and comforting beguilingly so stripping bare the darker elements of our nature in such stark raw detail as to force self examination of one's belief systems a forceful fact check of our own personal and most trusted accepted ideologies A paper thin fairy tale it is not What it is rather is a dark and wholly honest observation of the oft unforeseen pitfalls of the American Dream not many discuss openlyRetired at the age of thirty seven Greg has everything he's ever desired to in life financial freedom a healthy happy family and the accomplishment of having achieved personal goals established as a child To his dismay however he discovers an overwhelming sense of emptiness in this effortless existence Depressed and alone in his withdrawal from the workaday world he once knew he appears to teeter on the edge of mental instability often fantasizing of suicide and seemingly uncertain of an unchallenged future he no longer desires It is his relationships with those closest to him which suffer the greatest cost and when his wife files for divorce Greg succumbs to a very primal instinct fight or flight He does not fight He leaves the not unsubstantial investments accumulated in his lucrative days to his wife and daughter before loading up his motorcycle to set sail for uncharted waters Greg wanders the far Western United States for a while settling down in Portland Oregon with a friend where he remains on the lam from a family back in the state of Texas he ironically believes he's protected from heartache of a broken home It's when tragedy strikes Haiti in early 2010 that he sees an opportunity to offer up what little usefulness he feels he still possesses in an unlikely and most unusual fashion he will travel to Haiti to repair and maintain the fleets of motorbikes the locals rely upon in their day to day lives Masquerading as a generous display of selflessness Greg's dubious intentions are generally regarded as respectful to his friends if not odd but he alone commits himself to this act with the understanding that he will likely not survive the journey instead seeing it as an opportunity to end his frustration and despondence in a final act of 'charity'Throughout the novel Greg deals with themes not uncommon to many 'Gen Xers' today finding success at an early age only to ask themselves 'What now?' as they wrestle with the knotty untangling of self imposed guilt uncertain if the efforts the very work itself ever truly warranted the rewards Paradoxically Greg suffers from low self esteem and a shaky view of what feels like a bleak future not only for himself but for society in general As an example he defends his decisions to shun social media as an acceptable replacement for what he believes is meaningful interaction instead preferring a classic form of letter writing that appears in several instances throughout the novel He describes the inherent benefits of a so called 'technology cleanse' and even stops looking up simple scientific queries content to examine them himself or ‘chew them over first' as he puts it Many issues like these are often humorous in their innocence and inclusion but the book deals with heavy realities in ways not immediately comparable to other works today The cold nature of divorce and the limited prospect of single parenting from a male perspective is discussed in raw detail Suicide is an omnipresent theme and met head on It is not an easy read at times and is simply put extraordinarily sugar free in its delivery It is the steady dissection of a thinking feeling person who once away from the pursuit of said American Dream begins to think and feel in the broad lateral ways he used to In that light the novel is also very much a sad reflection of a slow descent into a world of social isolation the story of a man cloistered from the day to day working world that provides most people with their network of friends and personal interactionsThrough either direct dialogues with himself or in deeper near pitch perfect conversation with Beth a volunteer doctor in Haiti Greg reflects on his 'midlife chrysalis' as he describes it and his disappointment in what most people strive for all their lives Initially this voice contrasts sharply to the narrator's outlook on just about everything but as the story unfolds the two voices draw nearer to a harmonious center of someone humbled by the destruction in Haiti an open mind seeing the world a bit clearly through the rediscovery of some small semblance of life in the empty inner hell he has created for himself The love story that develops organically throughout the later half of the novel was admittedly somewhat unexpected though realistically portrayed in a manner or less befitting the work This chance meeting with Beth is the real catalyst here a slap across the face a reminder of what truly matters to Greg The proper secondary character of the novel however is an inanimate object a motorbike that Greg arranges and ships to Haiti to operate as his mobile base of operations Loaded to almost comical proportions the bike acts as a relative anchor for him his trusty steed and the very conveyance by which he is able to lend his rather limited assistance throughout Haiti Greg thinks of the motorcycle as a partner not a mere piece of hardware but a traveling companion offering up the facsimile of a friend a form of comfort I imagine that to those who also ride the story will find concrete connections in the intricacy of the details I personally do not though found the technical aspects he deals with interesting and compelling enough to never mire the pageIn summary Promise of Departure is in this reviewer's opinion an exercise an experiment in written word that isn't easily discussed without laying bare essential clues of the intended goal of the author There are many and the observant reader will likely come away having heard a very different tale than the casual reader It can be a challenging read It will not leave you warm and cozy at points though for some readers so troubled as Greg finds himself it may often do precisely that On than one occasion the comfortable and personable nature of the storytelling lulled me into forgetting this was not in fact someone's very personal travel diary This I believe was my strongest reaction to the book it made me forget these were not very real people in a very real often cold world Ultimately this is one of the braver debuts I've seen in quite some time Greg would likely call it 'calculated stupidity' I call it a calculated success