From the 1930s in the colorful Florida Keys to the present day, this historical novel tells the story of friendship, separation, and reconciliation between two men.
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What are the elements of friendship that last a lifetime? What is the mysterious connection that can outlast great distances and more than half a century of separation to bring friends back together for a final and enlightening farewell? For Lázaro, a salty Cuban mariner and Dominic, a sophisticated Chicago engineer, the answers could be found in the game. From the time of their meeting and first chess match on Key West in the 1930s, each player’s win was scratched into the back of the board. As the game tally grew so did their friendship. Now, both men are in their twilight years, but it’s Dominic’s life, weathered down by cancer, which is reaching its conclusion. Lázaro, who fled from his island home and his friend years ago, learns that Dominic is rapidly dying and sets off on the long journey from Boston to Florida to see his old friend before time runs out. But prior to leaving, Lázaro retrieves the old chessboard and makes a startling discovery. First marked over sixty years before, the number of scratches, uncounted until now, has the two men evenly tied. As he drives towards the Keys and his dying friend, Lázaro is forced to confront a past he has struggled to forget while anticipating the reunion with him and what could be their final game.
Historic Key West and its people at their best
By Mandy Bolen, The Key West Citizen
Andrew Jalbert obviously understands the Key West so many people know and love...its history, heartbreak and unending allure. As a Key West local, it's refreshing to read a historic novel about a steadfast friendship and a legendary island so accurately portrayed and well-dialogued. The characters are real, the events true and the plot captivating. Join Dominic and Lázaro as they rediscover the bond that drew them together, the game that keeps them together and the island that forever connects them. A great read...
The Natural Beauty of the Islands
By Deirdre O’Regan
Editor, "Sea History Magazine"
The glare of the sun against the clear blue water and the smell of the salt-saturated tropical air emerge from the pages as you read. Jalbert allows us to look past today’s built-up tourist attractions and visit the natural beauty of the islands and the waters that surround and dictate life there…West Across the Board will make you want to find that part of your life you left behind for more practical pursuits–the part that connects you with the earth and one another…
A Soulful Work
By Kathleen Slattery-Moschkau, writer and director of the critically
acclaimed motion picture "Side Effects"
First time novelist, Andrew Jalbert, enters the scene with surprising maturity… West Across the Board weaves rich characters into a soulful, peaceful story. I didn’t want it to end.
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Reader Reviews for "West Across the Board"
|Reviewed by Eileen Granfors
|Andrew Jalbert's "West Across the Board" gives you a look at life in the Keys and the beauty of the sea. More importantly, the central characters of Lazaro and Dominic share a life-lonf friendship and learn to live the lives they have chosen. A very invigorating book!|