The Same Sky

While they share The Same Sky, Carla and Alice's lives could not be more different. Impoverished Carla, age 10, lives with her grandmother and toddler brothers in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, subsisting on the money her mother sends from Texas. In Texas, Alice and her husband own a successful barbecue restaurant, enjoying a comfortable life and a happy marriage. Amanda Eyre Ward alternates chapters between Carla and Alice, and even as their stories unfold it is not immediately apparent why they share the novel--until their lives converge at a heartrending intersection for both.

Ward is unsparing in describing the horror of Carla's plight--crime, violence and hunger force her to attempt the perilous migration across Mexico to find her mother and a better life in the United States. The story rings true, and the author's yearlong research, meeting immigrant children and visiting shelters, is evident. Alice, meanwhile, is grieving her infertility and frustration at thwarted adoption efforts. She and Jake appreciate what they have, but Alice feels incomplete and can't abandon hope for parenthood.

Young Carla and adult Alice share a number of qualities: tenacity, loyalty, strength and a deep capacity for love. The contrast between their fates is stark, but Alice's privilege doesn't inspire resentment in the reader. They also share a community, and when Carla is forced to make a decision, it affects Alice dramatically. In a world of brutality, inequity and immigrant injustice, redemption overcomes sorrow in The Same Sky. --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, manager, Book Passage, San Francisco

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