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Anatomy of a Miracle PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: Anatomy of a Miracle
Author: Jonathan Miles
Publisher: Published March 13th 2018 by Hogarth Press
ISBN: 9780553447583
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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A profound new novel about a paralyzed young man's unexplainable recovery--a stunning exploration of faith, science, mystery, and the meaning of life Rendered paraplegic after a traumatic event four years ago, Cameron Harris has been living his new existence alongside his sister, Tanya, in their battered Biloxi, Mississippi neighborhood where only half the houses made it th A profound new novel about a paralyzed young man's unexplainable recovery--a stunning exploration of faith, science, mystery, and the meaning of life Rendered paraplegic after a traumatic event four years ago, Cameron Harris has been living his new existence alongside his sister, Tanya, in their battered Biloxi, Mississippi neighborhood where only half the houses made it through Katrina. One stiflingly hot August afternoon, as Cameron sits waiting for Tanya during their daily run to the Biz-E-Bee convenience store, he suddenly and inexplicably rises up and out of his wheelchair. In the aftermath of this "miracle," Cameron finds himself a celebrity at the center of a contentious debate about what's taken place. And when scientists, journalists, and a Vatican investigator start digging, Cameron's deepest secrets--the key to his injury, to his identity, and, in some eyes, to the nature of his recovery--become increasingly endangered. Was Cameron's recovery a genuine miracle, or a medical breakthrough? And, finding himself transformed into a symbol, how can he hope to retain his humanity? Brilliantly written as closely observed journalistic reportage and filtered through a wide lens that encompasses the vibrant characters affected by Cameron's story, Anatomy of a Miracle will be read, championed, and celebrated as a powerful story of our time, and the work of a true literary master.

30 review for Anatomy of a Miracle

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    I was actually confused while reading this whether I was reading fiction or nonfiction. It is written in the style of the show, Making of a murderer, if one watched that. No murder here but rather a resurrection of sorts, as Cameron a young man who lost the use of his legs in Afghanistan, rises again in a Vietnamese store owners parking lot. We then follow this supposed miracle and all its ramifications. From the miracle seekers who appear, to the different church representatives, and of course I was actually confused while reading this whether I was reading fiction or nonfiction. It is written in the style of the show, Making of a murderer, if one watched that. No murder here but rather a resurrection of sorts, as Cameron a young man who lost the use of his legs in Afghanistan, rises again in a Vietnamese store owners parking lot. We then follow this supposed miracle and all its ramifications. From the miracle seekers who appear, to the different church representatives, and of course the television makers who want to make a documentary of the event. The VA doctor who is trying to figure out medically how this occurred, to the store owner who soon has a burgeoning business selling artifacts. This is not a fast read, it is very comprehensive, and very well done. We see all sides of this event, but more important we get a very indepth analysis of all involved, I really had the feeling I knew, understood these people. As in real life, however, there are so many things that go wrong, so much more to the story,all of which we learn in turn, right when the knowledge is needed. There is an emotional appeal to this, in a relationship that remains hidden for much of the book. Sometimes there is so much information imparted it threatens the emotional connection and vulnerability that makes this novel a standout. I liked it very much. Faith and culture, a strong bond between a brother and sister, and how quickly a life can turn when the unknown happens. ARC from Edelweiss and publisher.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    It was as if I was reading a true account of what people were claiming to be a miracle. Cameron Harris is paralyzed from the waist down after being hit with shrapnel while on duty in Afghanistan. One afternoon in front of a convenience store in Biloxi, MS, he gets up out of his wheelchair and walks, something he hasn’t been able to do for four years. This is isn’t just Cameron’s story. It soon becomes evident that this is also about a cast of other characters and that there so many layers here. It was as if I was reading a true account of what people were claiming to be a miracle. Cameron Harris is paralyzed from the waist down after being hit with shrapnel while on duty in Afghanistan. One afternoon in front of a convenience store in Biloxi, MS, he gets up out of his wheelchair and walks, something he hasn’t been able to do for four years. This is isn’t just Cameron’s story. It soon becomes evident that this is also about a cast of other characters and that there so many layers here. This is about faith or lack of, in some ways, about the inexplicable ,but this is not a preachy quest for conversion. It felt like an expose of society in many ways. - social media, reality tv, the Catholic Church, and everyone who wanted a piece of the action, a connection to Cameron and what happened to him. The head of the VA hospital wants credit for his recovery. Father Ace and the Vatican Representative want a miracle proclaimed. Quybh wants to cash in on the notoriety of it having happened outside his store. The reality tv producer wants a hit show. There are some sincere characters. Dr. Janice Lorimar-Cuevas , Cameron’s doctor at the VA hospital wants to find a medical explanation and she genuinely cares about Cameron’s well being. The neighbor, Mrs. Dooley who believed in the miracle and just wanted Cameron to pray for her grandson. Tanya, Cameron’s sister has always been by his side. The detailed descriptions of these characters and others is one the things that makes you feel as if you are reading a true story, as we get background information on why their views on the miracle are what they are and what their motivations are for wanting to connect to Cameron. While all of this is going on, the author also gives us the background story on Cameron and his time in Afghanistan and the secrets he holds close. As Mrs. Dooley notes at one point things have turned into a “circus”. But the circus ends and life goes on after the miracle. I loved the ending and think Miles has done a fantastic job of commentary on modern life or really just life, whether you believe in miracles or not . I received an advanced copy of this book from Crown Publishing/Hogarth through NetGalley.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    The publisher is billing Anatomy of a Miracle as a *true story. It’s fiction written in a journalistic style and it is compelling. The writing is dense, full of VSD (Vivid, Specific, Detail) and it took me an unusually long time to read. Cameron returns from Afghanistan as a paraplegic and spends four sad years in a wheelchair under the care of his sister, Tanya. Miraculously, he stands up and begins to walk in front of his local convenience store in his Mississippi hometown. Was this a bonafide The publisher is billing Anatomy of a Miracle as a *true story. It’s fiction written in a journalistic style and it is compelling. The writing is dense, full of VSD (Vivid, Specific, Detail) and it took me an unusually long time to read. Cameron returns from Afghanistan as a paraplegic and spends four sad years in a wheelchair under the care of his sister, Tanya. Miraculously, he stands up and begins to walk in front of his local convenience store in his Mississippi hometown. Was this a bonafide miracle or a medical marvel? People begin to try to use Cameron’s recovery for their own purposes. The media and the Vatican become involved leaving Cam reluctant, confused and conflicted. This satiric novel contains much to ponder not the least of which is the belief in God. Rich in detail, the author guides you through all of the characters stories so you understand why they think the way they do. Miles is a talented writer with the smarts to match.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Jessica Parker

    This wonderful book was our 4th selection for ALA Book Club Central! An astoundingly joyous and deeply humane novel by a great writer.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !! If you were driving through Biloxi, Mississippi on August 23rd of 2014, and happened to stop at the Biz-E-Bee store on Reconfort Avenue and Division Street that afternoon just as Tanya Harris walked in, and her brother, Cameron rolled up, you might have been there to witness the Miracle. Not that they’d gone there looking for a miracle, Tanya was looking to buy some cigarettes, and Cameron, melting in the heat and humidity of the day, had beer in mind to offset the weather. !! NOW AVAILABLE !! If you were driving through Biloxi, Mississippi on August 23rd of 2014, and happened to stop at the Biz-E-Bee store on Reconfort Avenue and Division Street that afternoon just as Tanya Harris walked in, and her brother, Cameron rolled up, you might have been there to witness the Miracle. Not that they’d gone there looking for a miracle, Tanya was looking to buy some cigarettes, and Cameron, melting in the heat and humidity of the day, had beer in mind to offset the weather. As it was, it was Mrs. Eulalie Dooley who saw the ins and outs of all the days of this town from her front porch through her very own ninety-one-year-old eyes, which is where she was when Tanya left Cameron sitting in his wheelchair as she went into the small convenience store, across the street from her front porch. Tanya, inside the store, wandered a bit, picking up an extra item here or there, but it wasn’t even eight minutes she was inside that store, the last shoppers lined up for paying ahead of her had left by then, her obligatory chat with the store’s owners lasting mere minutes. All the while, Cameron is sitting under the awning in his wheelchair, when suddenly he experiences an unwelcome and unexpected bout of nausea. It passes. Then reappears, this weirdly uncomfortable feeling moving through him. And then it passes again. What followed was a miracle of sorts, no matter how you see it. Cameron, who hadn’t walked since he was in Afghanistan four years ago, wasn’t even conscious of doing this, as though his body was taking control so that he would see later on what he was capable of doing, despite surgeries and doctors that had told him otherwise for years. He walked. Now, Mrs. Eulalie Dooley may have seen some things in her ninety-one years of living, but this wasn’t just an everyday something, this was something. A miracle. And because she knew she was witnessing a miracle, as this young man whom she’d known all the years of his life had risen from his wheelchair and taken small, tentative, shaky steps, and because she also knew it was unlikely she’d ever witness another miracle as telling as this, she shouted praises to Heaven above from her front porch. What follows changes as time passes, and as time moves back and forth through time from Cameron’s school days, from his days in Afghanistan, and then back to the present as the media gets hold of his story and descends. His VA doctor becomes more involved trying to unravel this medical mystery as to how something medically / scientifically impossible has occurred. The media wants to tell a version of this story, and the media has its followers, who seek out their truth by traveling to this spot where this miracle occurred, which has now added souvenirs as those journeying there needed some token to proclaim that they’d been there. Stood on holy ground. Some arrive seeking a religious experience. Others, like reality television producers, view it as their ticket to a goldmine. Somewhat reminiscent of ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ for me, with the focus on those whose physical repercussions forever change the paths of their lives long after their return, there is a witty, satirical twist to this story. Religions, faith vs. judgment vs. science, are parts of this story, as is how faith is viewed in present-day America, but the heart of this story is love. Parental love, sibling love and the kind of love that your heart recognizes as home. I wanted to read this after reading the wonderful review by my goodreads friend Diane, check out her review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Pub Date: 13 Mar 2018 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Crown Publishing / Hogarth

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    After reading several outstanding advance reviews of this book, I was very eager to get my hands on it. The premise, cited as a *true story, is intriguing: when a young paraplegic Afghanistan veteran experiences a full recovery, what does it mean? Is it a true miracle or a medical breakthrough? More importantly, what if the veteran is harboring secrets and is not defined as “worthy”? Can or should he still be a symbol for divine mercy if he is perceived by misguided fundamentalists as a sinner? T After reading several outstanding advance reviews of this book, I was very eager to get my hands on it. The premise, cited as a *true story, is intriguing: when a young paraplegic Afghanistan veteran experiences a full recovery, what does it mean? Is it a true miracle or a medical breakthrough? More importantly, what if the veteran is harboring secrets and is not defined as “worthy”? Can or should he still be a symbol for divine mercy if he is perceived by misguided fundamentalists as a sinner? This book very aptly mines the hypocrisy of those who claim to follow the Church, fast to define inexplicable events as “miracles” and equally fast to dissemble that definition if a person doesn’t live up to man-made definitions of what a “saint” should be. It takes the reader on a journey from the war zones of the Middle East to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to a local convenience store where the “miracle” occurred. And it integrates science, medicine, the online community, TV film producers, local neighbors and more. So why do I find this book hard to rate? I found the enormous amount of detail to weigh down the forward propulsion, and often found myself scanning full pages because of what I considered superfluous background. As a literary fiction reader, I found the fact-laden long-form journalistic approach to lack magic. Still, once I got past the ponderous opening pages, I did settle in and actually began to admire what Jonathan Miles was doing as well as his pitch-perfect dialog, thoughtful plot twists, and above all, important themes. The magic did begin to emerge. The ultimate theme is, “How does someone reclaim his authentic life from the glare of others' expectations?” It leaves the reader with much to ponder.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    (Nearly 3.5) Look closely at the cover of Miles’s third novel and you see the central drama depicted: wheelchair tracks snake up and stop three-quarters of the way from the top, where they are replaced by footprints: A paralyzed Afghanistan veteran stands up and walks in Biloxi, MS. Is it a miracle, or an explainable medical phenomenon? Miles has been sly in how he’s packaged this. On the title page he calls it a ‘True Story’, and the style is reminiscent of journalistic reportage (like in Dave (Nearly 3.5) Look closely at the cover of Miles’s third novel and you see the central drama depicted: wheelchair tracks snake up and stop three-quarters of the way from the top, where they are replaced by footprints: A paralyzed Afghanistan veteran stands up and walks in Biloxi, MS. Is it a miracle, or an explainable medical phenomenon? Miles has been sly in how he’s packaged this. On the title page he calls it a ‘True Story’, and the style is reminiscent of journalistic reportage (like in Dave Eggers’s Zeitoun). But he made it all up. Some may feel tricked – which would be a shame, as there are interesting questions of faith and science that would be rewarding for a book club to discuss. Miles’s previous novel, Want Not, is the book I most wish I’d written, so it was perhaps inevitable this one would suffer in comparison. Dr. Janice and her eccentric Southern author father, Winston, were my favorite characters; I never particularly warmed to Cameron or Tanya, who don’t fully outgrow the country bumpkin stereotype. See my full review at The Bookbag.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Blankfein

    After returning to Biloxi, Mississippi a veteran paraplegic, from an horrific event in Afghanistan, Cameron Harris lives with his sister Tanya, spends a lot of time drinking and manages to get around in a wheelchair. From the death of his mother, to the damaging hurricane, to the war, Cameron has suffered his share. And then one day while waiting for Tanya in the convenience store parking lot, he just stands up and starts to walk…was it a miracle, or was there a medical explanation? After a Face After returning to Biloxi, Mississippi a veteran paraplegic, from an horrific event in Afghanistan, Cameron Harris lives with his sister Tanya, spends a lot of time drinking and manages to get around in a wheelchair. From the death of his mother, to the damaging hurricane, to the war, Cameron has suffered his share. And then one day while waiting for Tanya in the convenience store parking lot, he just stands up and starts to walk…was it a miracle, or was there a medical explanation? After a Facebook post about what had taken place goes viral, the local and national media bombard Cameron with questions related to his recovery. Christians believe this was a miracle and proof of God, and even a lawyer sent by the Vatican arrives to investigate. But Cameron is confused about what really happened; his is not driven by religion or faith, his doctor is unable to offer an explanation, and he has a difficult time living up to the American Hero persona that is being forced upon him by TV executives attempting to make a documentary about him. When the Vatican investigator starts digging to interview the men Cameron served with in the war, a huge secret is revealed that impacts what people believe. As Cameron questions himself and the discovery forces the public to reexamine their explanations, religion and science are up against each other in this search for the truth. Anatomy of a Miracle is a novel written as if it is true…the highest form of Fake News. Several chapters were quite dense due to the investigative nature and reporting style of writing, but the recap of what went on in Afghanistan and the character development that went along with that gave me great understanding of Cameron. I enjoyed this book; it touched on several topics from religious beliefs, medical science, identity, celebrity and truth, while providing insight into how different types of people assess what is around them and how they work it to their advantage. While trying to understand one’s fate and purpose, often people infuse a bit of imagination to feed their own agenda and to support their beliefs. “Imagination isn’t just seeing what’s not there. Imagination is also what we use to figure out why what’s there is the way it is.” Anatomy of a Miracle is SJP’s latest pick for the American Library Association’s Book Club Central. Follow my reviews on Book Nation by Jen. https://booknationbyjen.wordpress.com

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    As much as I love how this author puts you into the characters quickly and the place setting was also done superbly, I dislike the pace and style of his prose. It just doesn't flow to my continuity "meter" and yet it does have a purpose. He writes in a journalism non-fiction jumble of what seems to me a frenetic paced load of information. And at the same time as telling you so much, so quickly- he also hides huge areas by omission. It's as if he is putting everything left salvageable from 3 Katr As much as I love how this author puts you into the characters quickly and the place setting was also done superbly, I dislike the pace and style of his prose. It just doesn't flow to my continuity "meter" and yet it does have a purpose. He writes in a journalism non-fiction jumble of what seems to me a frenetic paced load of information. And at the same time as telling you so much, so quickly- he also hides huge areas by omission. It's as if he is putting everything left salvageable from 3 Katrina wrecked houses into a single back bedroom of a newer/ rehabbed, smaller house and leaving the entire other 4 or 5 rooms empty until the last 40 or 60 pages. Rarely, rarely do I find myself in wandering attention to a page and then another page 4 minutes later- but I did here. Maybe it was me, but this is no easy read. I found myself wanting to skim long descriptions and losing direction from jumps between sections. Possibly it was because both Cameron and his sister Tanya were not fully fleshed to me for all their word count, not even with those MRI's and all the physical exams. Now, Janice and her father were. And also seemed far more interesting to their personal dynamic between them. Far more real and layered and they had so much more to say to me that came out completely from their own individual "eyes". And about the whole situation too. But what I liked more than anything else was its Biloxi MS authenticity. Down to Mary Mahoney's and the conversations. And the store owners' too. It's quite period perfect also. All around a good book with some meaty, meaty topics. But I felt that they got piled up to an extent that you'll need more than a shovel. And I also felt a kind of pounding of the author's "real" too, as if you were being poked. Sometimes it felt rude. Lots to talk about for book clubs, or group reads. But you'll need members who don't mind war and psychological distress to the higher degrees. For all the joy expressed, it does not seem at all a simple or cheerful tale overall- not in any sense. It's chock full of ulterior motives, for instance. And some serious disingenuous posturing. I might also put it into the category of stereotypical anti-cleric fare for those who are sensitive about that endemic literary condition.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    A story about the riddles of the human heart, the contradictions we carry, the wounds seen and unseen, and the many sides to a story. Haunting and humble, Miles presents the residents of small town America, a place still ravaged from Hurricane Katrina, as they deal with the extraordinary healing that has occurred there. From the war zones of the Middle East to the dusty shelves of a local convenience store, questions of science and faith and love emerge, presented almost documentary style. Getti A story about the riddles of the human heart, the contradictions we carry, the wounds seen and unseen, and the many sides to a story. Haunting and humble, Miles presents the residents of small town America, a place still ravaged from Hurricane Katrina, as they deal with the extraordinary healing that has occurred there. From the war zones of the Middle East to the dusty shelves of a local convenience store, questions of science and faith and love emerge, presented almost documentary style. Getting to the ending was an emotional journey that left me with a lovely book hangover!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    I have read many genres from literary fiction to memoirs, but I can't recall ever reading a book quite like this one. The publisher describes it as "A profound new novel about a paralyzed young man’s unexplainable recovery—a stunning exploration of faith, science, mystery, and the meaning of life, " but the whole time I was reading, I couldn't decide if the account by Jonathan Miles was fact or fiction. The story moves between small town life in Mississippi where wheelchair- bound Cameron ekes o I have read many genres from literary fiction to memoirs, but I can't recall ever reading a book quite like this one. The publisher describes it as "A profound new novel about a paralyzed young man’s unexplainable recovery—a stunning exploration of faith, science, mystery, and the meaning of life, " but the whole time I was reading, I couldn't decide if the account by Jonathan Miles was fact or fiction. The story moves between small town life in Mississippi where wheelchair- bound Cameron ekes out a miserable existence with the support of his big sister, and then travels back in time on patrol in Afghanistan to learn how Cameron ended up in that wheelchair. The descriptions are so sharp and authentic they feel like the work of Fannie Flagg mixed with Tim O'Brien. Then as we get deeper into the account, and the author reveals the crucial issue that turns the story from a slapstick comedy to a profound tragedy, the reader is brought up short, wrestling with moral questions that seem beyond the scope of a novel of small town Americana or journalistic reportage. It was only after the story itself draws to a close and I read the afterword and acknowledgements that I was certain that this story is both a beautifully crafted novel and a carefully documented piece of journalism. Miles has done an amazing job of combining the two genres, but what is more amazing is how he lays out the medical and theological questions in the anatomy of this miracle and makes the reader care.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Cameron Harris is a paraplegic due to a land mine in Afghanistan 4 years prior, his older sister,Tanya takes care of him in their Biloxi, MS home, one of the many victims of Katrina. A family aware of life’s ills: abandoned by their father, the loss of their mother via a car accident, they reside in the shotgun home they were born in. Life’s daily is a trip to the Biz-e-Bee for needs. Tanya pushing Cameron, known to all they pass and within. It’s while inside that Cameron is witnessed outside taki Cameron Harris is a paraplegic due to a land mine in Afghanistan 4 years prior, his older sister,Tanya takes care of him in their Biloxi, MS home, one of the many victims of Katrina. A family aware of life’s ills: abandoned by their father, the loss of their mother via a car accident, they reside in the shotgun home they were born in. Life’s daily is a trip to the Biz-e-Bee for needs. Tanya pushing Cameron, known to all they pass and within. It’s while inside that Cameron is witnessed outside taking his first steps in too many years. Awkward, but intent. Not even sure how or why, himself, he walks. And the praises are sung around him. As is the skepticism, primarily from doctors hearing his recovery labeled as a miracle. But recovery it is. Then what? With biblical humor, referring to unmentioned life of Lazarus after his resurrection, it goes into what becomes of the cured after the cure? As physicians grapple for a how to his spontaneous recovery and the Biz-E-Bee begins to see profit in the hoards showing up to the miracle site. The pilgrimages, gawkers, plain curious. The kitsch soon fills the shelf and the register. But it gets better. Priests to prove, TV documentary to preserve and present, and medical staff to amaze. Yet through it all: the hype, the fame, the riches, all Cameron wants is to know how it happened and why to him. But even miracles have drama, secrets, and regrets. The twist thrown in during the last cycle, just before the final wringing out, was as much an “aha” as a “well, I’ll be...” but still did not answer how the legs that couldn’t, now can. This book is spiritual in a new age way, enlightening, loving and endearing. It is also the best thing I have read in many years. But even better, it is mostly true. Blessed be, Cameron. Blessed be. Thank you MOST sincerely Blogging For Books for this review copy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Darcysmom

    I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review. Anatomy of a Miracle is a wonder. We are thrust into Cameron Harris's world with the exacting view of an investigative reporter. Within the first few pages, I forgot I was reading a novel and had fully bought into Cameron's story. Cameron, like many young men who are adrift, joined the Army. He went to war and came home paralyzed and battling PTSD. For four years he existed with the help of his sister, Tanya. I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review. Anatomy of a Miracle is a wonder. We are thrust into Cameron Harris's world with the exacting view of an investigative reporter. Within the first few pages, I forgot I was reading a novel and had fully bought into Cameron's story. Cameron, like many young men who are adrift, joined the Army. He went to war and came home paralyzed and battling PTSD. For four years he existed with the help of his sister, Tanya. Then one day everything changed. While waiting outside a convenience store for Tanya, Cameron stood up and took several steps. Then he took more steps. Soon he was in physical therapy rebuilding his atrophied muscles. Cameron standing is where the story really begins. Cameron attained a minor level of celebrity and signed on for a reality show focused on him and his recovery. Much of the story is related through the lens of the reality show camera. There are also significant flashbacks to illustrate the essence of Cameron before his injury. The weaving of past and present allows us to view Cameron as a fully fleshed out character, not just a potential miracle. The central question the novel considers is how was Cameron healed? Was it a miracle? Was it a medical anomaly? Does an answer really matter for Cameron? I enjoyed Anatomy of A Miracle tremendously and definitely recommend reading it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sue Dix

    What an extraordinary book. It starts slowly, but builds and builds into an ever increasingly quick paced adventure. This book ostensibly deals with what constitutes a miracle, but ultimately it deals with what constitutes a human being.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shannon A

    A novel inspired by true events that opens with one unexplainable moment of recovery; which in turn, leads Cameron down the path of unexpected self-discovery. A true-to-life novel that will leave you wondering: which was the true miracle? One of the most compelling novels I've read in a long time.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    I wish I could give it ten stars. Rarely have a read a work by a novelist so fully in command of such prodigious talent—and found it by turns heartbreaking, entertaining, and genuinely thought-provoking. Astonishing.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    I found this book to be a compelling read for several reasons: it's a true story, the idea of a miracle - unexplainable event, and the resulting repercussions revolving around this recovery. If you grew up as I did attending Catholic schools and have ever had a nun say to you, "You are just the type who will..." - then you know the weird, uncomfortable feeling of wondering if you are going to receive some religious bolt of lightning on your head inspiring you to do something that you're not exac I found this book to be a compelling read for several reasons: it's a true story, the idea of a miracle - unexplainable event, and the resulting repercussions revolving around this recovery. If you grew up as I did attending Catholic schools and have ever had a nun say to you, "You are just the type who will..." - then you know the weird, uncomfortable feeling of wondering if you are going to receive some religious bolt of lightning on your head inspiring you to do something that you're not exactly comfortable with! The main character, Cameron Harris, is a veteran who has been paralyzed and wheelchair ridden for four years following an event during his service overseas. He lives with and is cared for by his sister in a hurricane ravaged area in Mississippi. One day while waiting for his sister outside of a local convenience store, Cameron inexplicably stands and walks. The rest of the book covers what happens afterwards and Cameron's reactions to it all. I grew to love Cameron and there is a turn to his story that I didn't anticipate. No spoilers will be given! What is so impressive about this book is the humanity of the characters. The author is wonderful at portraying both the strengths and weaknesses of the main and secondary characters: Cameron, his sister, Tanya, Cameron's doctor, the convenience store owners, etc. Flawed, as we all are, and yet redemptive in the final chapters. I really, really loved the way the book ended for many reasons. How would we "rise" to the circumstances of such a gift...to be able to walk again? What is the price of unwanted celebrity? Is everything in life explainable? How cruel is it to judge others...everyone has a burden/a story to tell. Highly recommend this book when released. I cannot quote the ending paragraphs as I received an ARC. But, it is my favorite part. Loved this book. I only hope Cameron Harris can have some anonymity and peace afterwards.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Bashaar

    Cameron Harris was wounded in Afghanistan, paralyzed from the waist down, and has been living for the past four years in a seen-better-days neighborhood of Biloxi. His sister Tanya devotedly cares for him. Then, one day four years after his wounding, he stands up our of his wheelchair and walks in the parking lot of the local convenience store, the Biz E Bee. Now Cameron is news, not just another wounded, forgotten veteran. His doctors scramble for an explanation. Everyone from the local priest Cameron Harris was wounded in Afghanistan, paralyzed from the waist down, and has been living for the past four years in a seen-better-days neighborhood of Biloxi. His sister Tanya devotedly cares for him. Then, one day four years after his wounding, he stands up our of his wheelchair and walks in the parking lot of the local convenience store, the Biz E Bee. Now Cameron is news, not just another wounded, forgotten veteran. His doctors scramble for an explanation. Everyone from the local priest to a representative of the pope to motley groups of pilgrims descend on the Biz E Bee, looking for proof of miracles - or a miracle of their own. Cameron and Tanya even get their own reality TV show. But everyone has their own agenda - and Cameron has a secret. I enjoyed this book very much. The hardscrabble lives of Cameron and Tanya and their neighbors are vividly portrayed without making them pitiful, clownish or stereotyped. They are permitted dignity and individuality. As agendas collide and secrets are revealed, Miles deftly reveals to his readers the real nature of the miracles that occurred as a result of a surprising recovery in the parking lot of the Biz E Bee. Like my reviews? Check out my blog at http://www.kathrynbashaar.com/blog/ Author of The Saint's Mistress: http://www.synergebooks.com/ebook_sai...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lynda Eicher

    I read and re-read Jonathan Miles. Everything he writes deserves a second read. Anatomy of a Miracle is no exception. I got bogged down in the military details of Cameron's Afghanistan narrative, but knew there was a reason I was reading it. And, like Want Not, I read scenes as if this is a mystery, details that I should have seen earlier, but got too caught up in his prose. which is magnificent. I read his books as if I am studying them for a class, as if I need to write a grad level literary a I read and re-read Jonathan Miles. Everything he writes deserves a second read. Anatomy of a Miracle is no exception. I got bogged down in the military details of Cameron's Afghanistan narrative, but knew there was a reason I was reading it. And, like Want Not, I read scenes as if this is a mystery, details that I should have seen earlier, but got too caught up in his prose. which is magnificent. I read his books as if I am studying them for a class, as if I need to write a grad level literary analysis when I am finished. Post-it notes, bordering on tattered, are still hanging out of my ARC of this book. Mr. Miles, you are my favorite author right now, and I am sad that I have to wait another 3 years (?) for your next work.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Loretta

    Really fantastic. Told as if a narrative nonfiction account, this novel explores issues of faith--in religion, in science, in love, in other people--from the perspective of a narrator who is decidedly not omniscient. What would you do if you witnessed something that appeared to be a miracle? Would you accept it as that? Or dismiss it as a scientific anomaly for which no explanation has yet been proposed? Or would you try to profit it and make the entire situation about yourself? All these questi Really fantastic. Told as if a narrative nonfiction account, this novel explores issues of faith--in religion, in science, in love, in other people--from the perspective of a narrator who is decidedly not omniscient. What would you do if you witnessed something that appeared to be a miracle? Would you accept it as that? Or dismiss it as a scientific anomaly for which no explanation has yet been proposed? Or would you try to profit it and make the entire situation about yourself? All these questions and more are explored with humor, compassion and an eye that somehow combines cynicism and idealism. I quite literally laughed and cried at various intervals throughout this novel. How wonderful.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vivek Tejuja

    You cannot place this book anywhere. Not in any genre, neither in any style of writing. I have read books similar to this book but nothing has come close. “Anatomy of a Miracle” as the title suggests is just that – a dissection of a miracle. The why, the what, the how, the questioning of faith and where does it stand in this world of science and technology. But above all, it is about what it means to be human, when all is lost and what you choose to believe in, no matter what. Cameron Harris has You cannot place this book anywhere. Not in any genre, neither in any style of writing. I have read books similar to this book but nothing has come close. “Anatomy of a Miracle” as the title suggests is just that – a dissection of a miracle. The why, the what, the how, the questioning of faith and where does it stand in this world of science and technology. But above all, it is about what it means to be human, when all is lost and what you choose to believe in, no matter what. Cameron Harris has been living life in a wheelchair, after being rendered paraplegic four years ago. He has literally nothing to look forward to. He lives with his sister Tanya, in a battered Biloxi, where most houses were destroyed in the wake of Katrina. And then suddenly, one fine day Cameron rises up without any explanation from his wheelchair and the world changes inside of and around him. This is the barebones plot of “Anatomy of a Miracle”. Of course there is a lot more to it but for that you would have to read the book. Miles’ writing is first-grade. The book is written in the form of journalistic pieces and encompass all of Cameron’s family and friends – also the characters that are affected by his story. “Anatomy of a Miracle” at the same time is not a fast read. It has a lot of details and you have to pay attention to almost each of them. The emotional connect and vulnerability of the book is spot-on and you can relate with questions of faith, kindness, doubt and what does it take after all to believe or walk away from it all. The details are in the characters, as they slowly unveil one layer after another. A firecracker of a read for sure!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    The conceit is that this book is a narrative nonfiction about a vet, Cameron Harris, paralyzed from the waist down, who comes home, lives several years in a depressed daze in a wheelchair, and then suddenly rises and walks in the parking lot of a mom and pop convenience store. His story goes viral and he becomes the subject of an investigation by the Catholic Church on whether his restored movement is a miracle. He also becomes the subject of a reality TV show and a medical investigation. One thi The conceit is that this book is a narrative nonfiction about a vet, Cameron Harris, paralyzed from the waist down, who comes home, lives several years in a depressed daze in a wheelchair, and then suddenly rises and walks in the parking lot of a mom and pop convenience store. His story goes viral and he becomes the subject of an investigation by the Catholic Church on whether his restored movement is a miracle. He also becomes the subject of a reality TV show and a medical investigation. One thing I appreciated was how well Miles sketched out the circumstances of the characters' various lives in the beginning of the book, and led us, by writerly sleight of hand, to believe we know the whole story. We don't. There is much, much more to be teased out. A neat trick. The book is, however, wholly fictional. The contrivance of making it seem like narrative nonfiction adds another layer to the different levels of reality we experience, as Cameron's life is viewed through different scientific, religious, political, showbiz, and other lenses by the characters and the world at large. The fifth star I withheld is because, at the end of the book, Cameron still seemed a bit of a cipher to me. Maybe that was intentional. Maybe the reader is supposed to use Cameron as an empty vessel to fill with whatever qualities they want to identify with. But in the end, his unknowability dulls the story's emotional impact somewhat. That's a quibble. All in all, this is an enjoyable and thought-provoking book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    This rich, satisfying read comes with much to recommend it. How Cameron and Tanya, his sister, find their lives forever changed in ever increasing ways after Cameron's quadriplegia all of a sudden disappears. Several books have been issued regarding the backlash of the current wars and their effect on the American population, but by choosing Biloxi as his location, Miles opens the possibility for a large cast surrounding the central issue, and it is these characterizations that propel this book This rich, satisfying read comes with much to recommend it. How Cameron and Tanya, his sister, find their lives forever changed in ever increasing ways after Cameron's quadriplegia all of a sudden disappears. Several books have been issued regarding the backlash of the current wars and their effect on the American population, but by choosing Biloxi as his location, Miles opens the possibility for a large cast surrounding the central issue, and it is these characterizations that propel this book out of the ordinary. Some are downright hilarious (Virgil Poleman, you have to discover for yourself why even his name is funny), but there are others imbued with such humanity that they could foster entire narratives (for example, Quynh, the proprietor of the Biz-E-Bee, formerly of Vietnam who finds an opportunity thanks to the fortunate location of where Cameron experiences his miracle). Miles's style is confident and clear, as seems true of most novelists who have a journalistic background. But as with Ace in the Hole, a '50's movie in which an event triggers opportunities in others to pursue their own agendas, others make use of Cameron's miracle for motivations not always to his benefit. Highly recommended.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I really enjoyed this book, I didn't know much about it, and appreciated the author's insight into the mind of a disabled veteran, and his 'miracle' (I don't want to spoil it!) There is an interesting relationship between the main character Cameron Harris and his sister that has cared for him, her whole life, Tanya. They have a unique bond, and she is a fun/quirky character. I loved how strongly the location of Biloxi, Mississippi came through - I could visualize the characters and setting, and I really enjoyed this book, I didn't know much about it, and appreciated the author's insight into the mind of a disabled veteran, and his 'miracle' (I don't want to spoil it!) There is an interesting relationship between the main character Cameron Harris and his sister that has cared for him, her whole life, Tanya. They have a unique bond, and she is a fun/quirky character. I loved how strongly the location of Biloxi, Mississippi came through - I could visualize the characters and setting, and enjoyed the complex relationships woven in throughout. From Cameron's relationship (or lack of) with his faith, his father, his sister, and his army relationships - it's a really good book that I enjoyed picking up to read. It would probably get a 3.5 from me, but I'll round up to a 4 star.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    This is the fictional account of Cameron Harris, who, after 4 years of being paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair as a result of a war injury,suddenly stands up and walks. Written in the style of narrative non-fiction, the book considers faith, both romantic and familial love, war, and reality television. Was this a miracle or was there a medical explanation for his recovery? Great writing and some unexpected plot twists make for a very entertaining read. Good fodder for a book group discussio This is the fictional account of Cameron Harris, who, after 4 years of being paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair as a result of a war injury,suddenly stands up and walks. Written in the style of narrative non-fiction, the book considers faith, both romantic and familial love, war, and reality television. Was this a miracle or was there a medical explanation for his recovery? Great writing and some unexpected plot twists make for a very entertaining read. Good fodder for a book group discussion too.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nici Comer

    To be honest, I’m not really sure if i liked this book or not. It’s well written so that’s not an issue. And i liked the format, so 4 stars. I appreciated the second half more than the first. In the first half, I couldn’t get past the feeling that the author was working really hard to convince me of the Mississippi elements. Felt a little name droppish to me, if that makes sense. (In full disclosure, I grew up and went to college in MS and my family is still there so I visit often.) Author’s han To be honest, I’m not really sure if i liked this book or not. It’s well written so that’s not an issue. And i liked the format, so 4 stars. I appreciated the second half more than the first. In the first half, I couldn’t get past the feeling that the author was working really hard to convince me of the Mississippi elements. Felt a little name droppish to me, if that makes sense. (In full disclosure, I grew up and went to college in MS and my family is still there so I visit often.) Author’s hand felt very heavy to me. I think that slacked off a bit in the second half so I enjoyed it more. Also more of C’s personal struggle being revealed in the second half resonated more with me, although I thought the ending left a lot more to be said. The Janice and her dad loop was closed but not C’s or even his sister’s. It left me wanting more.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Simon Robs

    To me three star mean good like it say boom boom. This book too familiar to close too far to. SCI so individual but always universal too. Saints & Sinners ubiq. truth throughback Cartesian yayhoos aside or/and on swerve. It's a bully biz yo so's not going they know. All books who find their readers run together. ..those field lilies not knowing how they do either.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jo Ann

    I can hardly wait to visit with the author at Booktopia in Vermont next month!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda

    It took me only 3 days to read this remarkable story of Cameron Harris , a young Afghanistan veteran who became paraplegic as a result of a combat injury, and subsequently a few years later suddenly and inexplicably stood from his wheelchair and was able to walk again in the parking lot of the local Busy Bee store . It’s a compelling read with lots of emotion, his struggles to cope with his own past , his sense of who he is and what he feels others expect him to be , and his attempt to cope with It took me only 3 days to read this remarkable story of Cameron Harris , a young Afghanistan veteran who became paraplegic as a result of a combat injury, and subsequently a few years later suddenly and inexplicably stood from his wheelchair and was able to walk again in the parking lot of the local Busy Bee store . It’s a compelling read with lots of emotion, his struggles to cope with his own past , his sense of who he is and what he feels others expect him to be , and his attempt to cope with his sudden “celebrity” kept me wanting to keep reading late into the night . Great book !

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    A novel told as a piece of long-form investigative journalism about Cameron Harris, Afghanistan vet, who was paralyzed from the waist down by a mine explosion during his service. The story picks up about 4 years after his injury when, apropos of nothing, he experiences some strange feelings in his body and ends up standing and walking a few steps through the parking lot of the local convenience store, where he was waiting for his sister to buy a few things. This unexpected development attracts a A novel told as a piece of long-form investigative journalism about Cameron Harris, Afghanistan vet, who was paralyzed from the waist down by a mine explosion during his service. The story picks up about 4 years after his injury when, apropos of nothing, he experiences some strange feelings in his body and ends up standing and walking a few steps through the parking lot of the local convenience store, where he was waiting for his sister to buy a few things. This unexpected development attracts a lot of attention to Cameron and his sister Tanya, the Vietnamese family who owns the convenience store, the town outside of Biloxi that they live in, and pretty much everyone in Cameron's life. The fallout from Cameron's miracle is interesting and complex and both heart-breaking and life-affirming. This book is funny in the right parts and quietly touching in the right parts. Cameron's relationship with his sister provides both sweet moments and comic relief, just like all the best sibling relationships in real life. There are definitely some issues of various kinds of diversity addressed in the book (particularly that Cameron's gay, a fact that isn't revealed until a little more than halfway through the book), but I really liked the way they were handled in a Southern town in the modern era - yes, there are some racist and homophobic jerks, but there are also a bunch of people quietly just trying to live their lives and let other people live theirs too. The characters in the book are so well-drawn they still feel like real people to me, and the story unfolds in such a way that it's hard to stop reading in the hopes that you'll uncover some piece of the mystery that blows the whole thing open. Even the acknowledgements for the book are written in such a way as to pretend that this is a real journalistic work rather than a novel - A+ effort for commitment to the construct; I was conflicted enough on whether it was real or not that I actually Googled "Cameron Harris miracle Mississippi" just to make sure it wasn't even based on a real person (it's not, at least not a person of that name). Bottom line, the story was compelling and interesting, and I'm not sure I've ever read anything like it before. I have a feeling I'm going to be thinking about this one for a long time.

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