In my humble opinion, K. Alexander is one of the finest writers in Atheneum’s vast index. To tell the truth, when I was picking and choosing my all time faves I had another of her stories (Deus ex machina) in my mind. Unfortunately, the author took it off the site.
Fortunately, more recent An Audience with the Sidewalk Saviour is just as good.
If I had to pick one single thing about this author’s stories to praise above all, it would be Alexander’s talent for unexpected, a high praise indeed in the field of romance (which is too often a synonym for cliche). Writing classes can teach you a lot; consistent writing can polish your style; a good editor will do marvels for the flow. But this, this ability to surprise, is almost as rare a gift as the one India Waits possesses.
Also, Alexander has an eye for detail: the settings are impressively real, be it a cut-throat atmosphere of a TV studio or misery of an African mission hospital.
Her dialogues (particularly bantering between two main characters) are a joy to read. They are sharp and witty, her observations often pithy.
An Audience with the Sidewalk Saviour is an original story in both meanings of the word. As in – not a fan fiction story but, also, a really original plot. The hero is reluctant, the motives unclear, the consequences life-threatening. Also, (Thank you, K. Alexander!) the love story is as far away from the concept of soul mates as you can be, and it’s most definitely not a love at the first sight. These two very strong headed, complicated women love each other despite themselves; they are wonderfully and completely unsuitable for each other (like a tsunami just waiting to happen).
I love Alexander’s characters. All of them, even the ones who appear in a paragraph or two are fleshed out. There’s no cardboard silhouette in sight.
This story is many things – a love story, a social commentary, a drama, but most of all, it’s a character study. Throughout the whole novel we are peeling off the layers of India Waits – a beautiful, awkward, freakish, heroic, faulty and very contemporary heroine. And every time you think you understand her reasons, the picture tilts.
All in all, an amazing novel, much recommended. I’m looking forward for more from this writer.