by Michael Fine
“Much like Norman Maclean’s later-in-life masterpiece, A River Runs through It, Michael Fine’s Abundance, written after a distinguished career of medical practice here in the U.S. and in Africa, is a powerful first novel, an epic stretching from the civil wars of Liberia to the streets of Rhode Island. It’s about the violence we practice on each other and the power of humanity to overcome it. A joy to read.”—Paul J. Stekler, Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker
Julia is an American medical doctor fleeing her own privileged background to find satisfaction delivering health care to remote African communities,where her skills really make a difference. Carl is also an American, whose experiences as a black man in the United States have led him to volunteer in Africa.
The two come together as colleagues (and lovers) as Liberia is gripped in a brutal civil war. Then Julia is kidnapped by child soldiers on a remote jungle road, and Carl is “rescued” and evacuated against his will by U.S. Marines. Back in the U.S., Carl turns to a Rhode Island doctor who has been a mentor to them both. With the help of a smuggler, they return to Africa illegally and begin the dangerous work of finding and rescuing Julia. This is an unforgettable thriller grounded in real events.
A short preface and several appendices add background on Liberia’s complex U.S.-linked history, and a glossary illuminates Liberia’s colorful Kreyol patois.
A former director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, Michael Fine has been a writer, community organizer, family physician, and public health official for forty years. He is currently charged with building the first Neighborhood Health Station in the U.S., in Central Falls, RI. In addition to his book Health Care Revolt, he has published widely in the medical literature, mostly about health policy. As a fiction writer, he has published short stories and poems in the U.S. and the UK. He served as a medical officer for Kenya and worked as a volunteer during the Liberian Civil War, the subject of Abundance, his first novel.