Patchworks is sadly a timely tale of national character and individual insight, juxtaposing individual lives and Second Amendment rights. One reads this engaging, often amusing, and ultimately disturbing account in light of an advancing history of public massacres involving firearms.

WorldView Magazine’s Peter Van Deekle reviews Patchworks at Peace Corps Worldwide. Excerpts:

B.A. East brings to his latest and timely novel a refined skill for realistic dialog and a first-hand experience of the federal bureaucracy. This reviewer received his copy of Patchworks on the morning after the Las Vegas massacre in October 2017 with the prophetic statement on its back cover: “America’s next gun massacre is inevitable…”

One can readily associate this novel’s depiction of the petty and futile federal agenda with Joseph Heller’s landmark Catch 22. Both Heller and East immerse readers in the trivia of life amid the horrors of war and violence. Patchworks represents the modern worksite routine in which “sheltering in place” and “lockdowns” have become commonplace.

East draws on his considerable diplomatic career experience in providing credible, often outlandish, instances of how the depicted federal employees are absorbed in their individual job security, career advancement and avoidance of substantive recommendations for government action. While the absurdity of the attitudes and actions of each Bureau employee is artfully described, an evolving and ultimately culminating event turns the novel’s hilarity toward the tragic. Amid the plans for a co-worker’s wedding and obsessive security-mandated agency document shredding, guns, gun ownership and gun control emerge as central issues directly and fundamentally impacting all the characters’ lives. The reader is adroitly unprepared by the author for the outcome of events, and East offers a moral perspective via Gabriel’s own thoughts and actions.

Read the full review here.

Peter Van Deekle (Iran, 1968-70) began his Peace Corps service informally in the summer of 1963, as a teenage volunteer at headquarters in Washington, D.C. From that time onward he planned to serve abroad, and joined the 20th group of volunteers to Iran in 1968, following graduation from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been an academic administrator in a variety of public and private colleges and universities since his return to the United States and currently, having retired to the Washington, D.C. area where he is the Community News Editor for the National Peace Corps Association’s WorldView magazine. He is also active in the Peace Corps Community for the Support of Refugees and the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience.


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