Culture Street

Books

We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride

On September 1, 2014

By Sophia Whitfield
We Are Called to Rise is an emotive debut drawing on a number of different characters, each one having endured their own personal tragedy. Each character in turn is offered their own redemption.

A woman stands in her bedroom shocked that her marriage has crumbled to nothing as her husband announces he is leaving. Thousands of miles away a soldier wakes in a hospital bed certain that he has done something terribly wrong but unable to remember what exactly he has done. A young man joins the police force (LVPD) after three tours of Iraq plagued by what he has seen. These characters all live or have lived in Las Vegas along with an immigrant family who are struggling to adapt to their new home.

Told from the point of view of each one of the main characters, McBride has given us a startling look at a different side to Las Vegas, one without the slot machines and bright lights that it has become so famous for.

We Are Called To Rise has family as its central theme, the devastation of loss, the heartbreak of witnessing crumbling relationships and the bonds that tie us to one another. In the depths of tragedy, compassion and community spirit rallies to support those in need, most especially children in need.

Deeply moving and quite unforgettable this novel will keep you thinking for quite some time after you have finished reading the final page.

Meet the author: Laura McBride

Laura McBride is a writer and community college teacher in Las Vegas, Nevada. She once thought of herself as an adventurer, having travelled far from home on little more than a whim and a grin, but now laughs at the conventional trappings of her ordinary life. A long time ago, she went to Yale. We Are Called To Rise is her first novel.

What are you reading at the moment?
Iím embarrassed to say that my nightstand boasts six partially finished novels, one partially finished work of non-fiction, and four novels that I am absolutely ready to begin. It has been a frenetic couple of weeks of traveling, and visitors, and starting a new semester, and while I am not sure what I am reading, I am anxious for the chance to get back to it.

Which writer most inspires you?
Of late, I have been thinking about Wallace Stevens. I donít know what sort of guy he was, but he came to a public life of poetry late, and then he published daring, idiosyncratic, and challenging work. I imagine that being a poet did not draw him; rather, he arrived at a moment in which only poetry would suffice.

If you were sent away to a desert island and were only allowed to take one book with you, which one would you take?
Is it cheating to say The Riverside Shakespeare? That would keep me in imaginary company for a long time, and if I forgot about the modern world altogether, then I could rediscover it Rip-Van-Winkle-style when I was rescued.

What would be the title of your memoirs?
For my very first resume, I needed three adjectives. My dad suggested catalytic, and that one word got me the job. So . . .
You Canít Start a Fire Without a Spark
And hats off to Bruce Springsteen.

Living in Las Vegas is . . .
. . . filled with opportunity. The most unlikely people have the chance to do the most amazing things, so it is a place where one can dream.

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