The Retreat by Mari Reiza

Marie is plagued by occurrences from her childhood. The choices and experiences from back then have shaped the woman she is today. She hears the voice of God and takes it upon herself to save everyone she can. She meets Nadia who disrupts life with Ahmed only for the relationship to turn sour for the sake of martyrdom on Nadia’s part. 

In the telling of the back-story, Marie misses her father terribly. She feels that perhaps she is the only one who misses him. Her mother is hurt by her reluctance to let go of the man who left them. Or the man who did not follow when they left. It is not really clear who left whom or who was left behind in Marie’s mind. She meets Isabelle at the retreat who spurs her inner heroine. Marie is determined to make Berger pay for using his cloak of deception to get away with things like his constant accidentally malfunctioning zipper. 

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Mari Reiza has a way of narrating a story that is borderline quirky. If one is not careful, they can find themselves lost in the drivel. However, this style of writing is very adorable and appropriate especially due to the personality of the character telling it. The way Mari tells the story of Marie feels as though she is narrating a firsthand account. This is common in all her books. It goes to show how much she invests in developing her characters. She always tries to encompass the personality of the lead character. The story kicks off in the most entrancing way- mostly taciturn man (when crankiness did not fill his mouth with vulgarity- I mean, this is a beautiful arrangement of words. This sets the stage for the intense intrigue to come. 

One who has some time to hover over sentences and stew in Marie’s emotions, as both an adult and a teenager would best enjoy this book. It is short but it requires time and an open mind. Taking time is the only way to enjoy Marie’s winding story of misfortunes and the very unusual ending. Even though Marie’s mother is not prominently featured, she is typical of most single mothers out there. Struggling everyday to provide everything for the kids while denying themselves everything. At the same time, battling past heartbreaks that threaten to interrupt life. 

After reading a few of Mari’s books, one will realize that digressing is her ting. She has it down to an art. It can be quite confusing and disorienting to a reader who encounters this for the first time. After a while, you get used to it and even start to appreciate the style. The only downside is that you might miss some integral prerequisites to the plot. No mater, there is no rule against rereading. 

This book gets 4 out of five stars. It is gritty and entertaining. The story is daring. Sometimes you will think- I cannot believe she went there- she will have. She will have gone there. This is the single most valuable quality of ‘The Retreat’ and Mari Reiza’s writing in general. 

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