Curve of the World

by Marcus Stevens

Ever since Michael Crichton's bestsellers started translating to
film it became quickly apparent that all of his books were designed
for the big screen: they had short, action packed scenes with
demi-cliffhangers; bigger-than-life eclectic characters; plot
twists and turns; and cinematic, blockbuster endings. The only
thing missing was the popcorn. Crichton established a model, in my
opinion, for other authors eager to see their work come to life in
celluloid. I don't know if this was Marcus Stevens's intention when
he wrote THE CURVE OF THE WORLD, but his debut novel has Hollywood
potential written all over it.

Act I: Lewis Burke (I envision Hugh Jackman in this role), a New
York Coca-Cola salesman, is on his way to Johannesburg when his
commercial flight encounters trouble and must make an emergency
landing on an abandoned airstrip somewhere in the Congo. Rescuers
arrive on the scene only to reveal themselves as rebels with no
intention of assisting the stranded passengers and crew. Lewis
flees the gun-toting soldiers and heads into the rainforest with
only the shirt on his back. Meanwhile, back in the States, his
estranged wife Helen (played by Helen Hunt, if I get a say) and his
blind son Shane learn of his flight's unscheduled landing and
decide to head to the African jungle to find him.

Act II: Helen encounters numerous obstacles in her efforts to learn
any news of her husband, who, it appears, is not amongst the
survivors of the flight who have been, finally, safely removed from
the godforsaken jungle. A youthful and misguided reporter, a
stubborn ambassador, and a local storeowner play minor but pivotal
roles in her search. (Casting: Jimmy Fallon as the reporter; Frank
Langella as the ambassador; and Tony Shaloub as the storeowner.)
Back in the rainforest, Lewis is facing his own battles. He
grapples with leeches, undrinkable water, wild apes, unsociable
natives, and feverish hallucinations.

Act III: Finally, befriended by a boy, Lewis finds his way out of
the jungle. Helen resigns herself to the fact that Lewis is most
likely dead. And just when we think Lewis is safe, he heads back
into the jungle to save the boy who has saved him. Helen
reconsiders and plods on. And then...

Well, previews never give away the ending of a movie, do they? And,
so, I will not give away the ending of the

Throughout the book Helen and Lewis spend a lot of time reminiscing
about their marriage and how they came to the point of
estrangement. It's good human insight stuff and makes the
characters more likable and believable. Author Stevens has also
spent a lot of time in Africa, and that's apparent in his
descriptions of the jungle thickets and ape encounters and general
atmosphere of the place. Fast paced and tense, THE CURVE OF THE
WORLD will keep readers on the edge of their seats. (After writing
this review, I learned that THE CURVE OF THE WORLD has already been
optioned for film by the producers of Fargo, Dead Man
, and Elizabeth. Buy your tickets now!)

Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara on January 21, 2011

Curve of the World
by Marcus Stevens

  • Publication Date: May 3, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books
  • ISBN-10: 1565123360
  • ISBN-13: 9781565123366