Born - Against All Odds

Fiction - Literary
300 Pages
Reviewed on 04/25/2020
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Author Biography

Hope Silver is a pen name of Russian author, born in Siberia, she now based in Berkeley, California.
Hope’s published books have got several international awards.

She’s an author of flash fiction story collection CURIOUS THINGS and a novel BORN – AGAINST ALL ODDS (magical realism genre).
Her first illustrated book for children “A Diary of a Traveling Hedgehog, or Where Does Happiness Live?” is coming in summer 2020 in two languages: Russian an English.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Born: Against All Odds is a work of dramatic literary fiction penned by author Hope Silver. Translated from its original Russian by Krystyna Steiger, this unusual narrative takes us on the conceptual path of how human beings come into form, discussing the nature of souls waiting to be born. This spiritual work concerns a single soul called Peace, who spots a woman whom he feels would be the ideal mother to bring him into the world. We journey with Peace on his desire to be born, asking important questions about life and its purpose, as well as human nature along the way.

Part spiritual discussion, part magical realism, this fantasy and literary work combines the serious and the surreal with excellent balance. Author Hope Silver develops characters with a seamless fluidity alongside the plot, never pausing to delve into too much conceptual explanation or backstory, which allows us to get to know Peace, Lera and the rest of the cast as you would get to know new friends. The concept of souls choosing where to be born is an interesting and heartfelt journey that is well told, with many ups and downs and issues that will keep you questioning long after you finish the actual novel. The prose too is elegantly formed to paint ethereal images of the pre-existence of souls, compared to the earthy qualities of the human form as it walks the planet. Overall, Born: Against All Odds is a dramatic, uplifting and thought-provoking piece of literature that anyone can enjoy.

Ankita Shukla

Born: Against All Odds by Hope Silver presents the author's incredible imagination. When a soul selects Lera to be his mother, he did not know how deeply attached he would become to her even before being born. In order to be born, however, he had to ensure that Lera would not only be pregnant but also would go through with the delivery. It was love at first sight for this soul, who later would be known as Peace. But when Peace is conceived as a result of Lera's very broken relationship with a pathetic man, the odds of him actually being born become next to zero. Needless to say, Peace tried as much as he could, but Lera decided to abort the child and move on from her bad relationship. Heartbroken, yet understanding, Peace is bound to serve under an angel for a year before he can again select a mother.

The author has exercised her imagination in the most fascinating way possible. It made me wonder if this is actually what happens: a soul selects a parent, and if they are aborted, they work under an angel for a while and then select another parent. The plot has the power to make its readers think about relationships, guardian angels, and abortion. The best part is that the author, Hope Silver, has presented a non-judgemental viewpoint of the very controversial topic of abortion. Born: Against All Odds takes you on a journey of Lera's relationships, her friends' lives, Peace's immense love for Lera, and the guardian angel's duties and troubles. This book has a quite captivating presence, which I absolutely loved.

Vincent Dublado

Make no mistake about it. This story is far more profound than Look Who’s Talking. Hope Silver’s Born: Against All Odds is a remarkable twist on the story of an unborn child who narrates the story from his point of view. The premise is an inversion of the saying that “We cannot choose our parents.” The soul of a baby boy wanders the earth and has chosen a young woman named Lera to be his future mother. We are drawn to believe that it is easier to choose our parents, but the yet-to-be-born child discovers that Lera’s boyfriend does not want to have a baby, forcing Lera to have an abortion. A divine rule stipulates that errors in choosing would forfeit a baby soul’s privilege to pick his/her parent for the next two years. The unborn narrator fights a crisis stemming not only from within himself but from a divine process as well.

This book will satiate your appetite for magical realism. It can also serve as an ideal substitute when kids ask where babies come from. Rather than talking about storks as door to door couriers of newborns, the virtue of waiting and choosing a deserving parent has a more heartwarming touch to it. Born: Against All Odds is originally written in Russian, but Krystyna Steiger exhausted all means to ensure that her translation in English will not let readers feel being twice removed from the novel’s original language. Hope Silver has created an unconventional story that addresses the riddles of ontology on a spiritual level and does not leave any room for doubts. It makes us feel better after reading the last page.