Book Talk: Passages Home by Jeff Dwyer
" Passages Home is a poignant story about unrelenting war memories and reintegration in society. A heart rending read that heals a heart. "
Nobody escapes war in one piece.
One hundred and fifty miles from San Francisco, the Coast Highway emerges from a fog bank and runs straight through green meadows under the mid-afternoon sun. The road crests to form small hills and go through shallow valleys. The ocean lies beyond, the blue of distant places and past. The wind begins to pick up speed and caresses Jason on the cheek. He does not notice. Neither does he see the heavy scent of the sea or the broken fences and old barns ensconce against the greens on the other side of the road. A pause to acknowledge the artistic display of nature would have been beneficial to him. His battles would have been won halfway through. A break in Greece or Germany would have eased his mind some to prepare for his reintegration. But Jason did not pause right after two tours in Iraq, and he does not pause now. He continues walking toward his destination—healing, redemption, peace. He hopes to find them in Mendocino.
His feet are eager to reach their destination; his psyche is another matter. The hardened and insatiable killer—Jason calls this persona Jazz—is back in Fallujah and Tikrit, intoxicated with the smell of blood, the sounds of explosives, the sight of blood and gore. Burdened by guilt and shame over things he did in Iraq for American idealism, this side refuses to quiet down even once he was safely home in Berkeley. Following orders does not make enough excuse to kill a man or blow up a village, nor does saving the country and fellow Americans. Society calls it post-traumatic stress disease. But, really, guilt is guilt. It suffocates every Jason or Jazz, every war-weary veteran, like pollution to the soul.
A group of acquaintances in Mendocino helps Jason reconcile with his past. They secretly channel their energies to him, so he recovers faster. They welcome him to their fold and teach him the ways of the vineyard where Jason finds employment. In the thriving vineyards and dark, quiet atmosphere of an old stone winery, he discovers the power and beauty of life’s transformations and the courage to undergo change. Healing must ultimately start within before its manifestations without. He lets go of the man he can’t be anymore and allow the passage to take him home to who he is now. Finally, he falls in love and learns that true love conquers all.
Passages Home is a gem of a story. Author Jeff Dwyer addresses one of the social issues that continue to hurt us today—the reintegration of millions of veterans. Jason’s flashbacks that can be randomly triggered by any event allow us to see PTSD and its many ugly forms. Through Jason, we ponder loss and spirituality, guilt and patriotism, shame and love. Passages Home speaks to the heart of PTSD sufferers and their loved ones, letting them know that a passage can be made to that cherished safe haven, Home.
Reviews and What Readers Say
" Rarely do I find fiction that engages and delights on multiple readings—this gem of a story, Passages Home, delivers every time. Iraq war veteran Jason returns to civilian life not quite the same, having been diagnosed with PTSD. The author’s keen understanding of this affliction and descriptive prowess lets us feel the anguish and alienation suffered by his trauma-surviving protagonist, whose wound is really a wound of the soul. Lovely storytelling to land this dispirited young man on the glorious Mendocino rugged coast. Wilderness, wineries, and slow-paced lifestyle contrast with Iraq’s hostile, arid, and violent setting, depicted in flashbacks randomly triggered by everyday events. The coastal community’s open and loving residents subtly become part of Jason’s healing process. He begins to connect to the natural world there and partake in different activities, some unexpected and fraught with danger. All these factors begin to shift him in a new way. The pages turn quickly, as we want to know if he will truly find meaning in life. Through Jason we ponder loss, suffering, love, and spirituality. We look at veterans returning home in a new way. This wise story leads the reader to examine the beliefs held about our own personal past traumas. We learn that ultimate healing requires an awakening of the power within and that love is the most important transformational tool. Passages Home is an illuminating and emotionally savvy read that is also immensely enjoyable."
—J.Lombardi, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
Reviewed by Amy Alcott
Disclosure: This article is a personal endorsement of the professional reviewer. The BookWalker is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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About the Author
Jeff Dwyer is the author of a 10-book series of non-fiction guides for ghost hunters published by Pelican Publishers of Gretna, LA. He has authored eighteen articles for medical journals, chapters for two textbooks, three novels, one hundred and fifty songs, and two screenplays for television.
Born in the heart of the San Francisco Bay area, Jeff spent his early years in the small island community of Alameda where he developed a love for sailing, fishing, and local history and a fascination with the ships and airplanes of the nearby naval air station.
In college, Jeff became an All-American swimmer while pursuing his interests in the medical sciences in which he earned a bachelor's degree, two Master of Science degrees, and a Ph. D. This education landed him jobs at prestigious institutions, among them Duke University and the University of Southern California. Currently, Jeff works as a clinical specialist in cardiology.
Inspiration for Jeff's writing projects comes from his personal experience and a keen sensitivity to the emotional and spiritual aspects of issues facing people today. His most recent novel, Passages Home, takes readers into the heart and mind of a veteran of the war in Iraq. The story explores spiritual and emotional wounds known as post-traumatic stress disorder, and a process of healing discovered in the vineyards, forests, beaches, and meadows surrounding the northern California town of Mendocino.Fascinated with the paranormal, Jeff is an active paranormal investigator, researcher, lecturer, and consultant often featured on television and radio shows. Visit www.jeffdwyer.com to read about his investigations.
Jeff Dwyer is an accomplished public speaker having addressed audiences over 2,000 people on a wide variety of topics ranging from paranormal phenomena to issues in medical research.