Book Reviews

A Place Called Schugara by Joe English

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

Goodreads synopsis:

A Place Called SchugaraA story of life, death, love lost and meaning found in Schugara and beyond.


(Note: I was a little thrown off by the cover design and the lack of a proper blurb on Goodreads, but the book is SO much better than any expectations you may form based on the cover.)



When Joe English first contacted me, requesting me to review his book, I jumped at the opportunity. I love literary fiction and the blurb he sent me screamed of my favorite genre. I’ve been tearing through all my review copies in the past few weeks, and A Place Called Schugara was the last in the list (until I shamelessly requested two more ARCs on NetGalley, both of which got accepted. Self control, thy name is SO not Shruti). I had already forgotten the blurb, so I went in not expecting anything, but this ended up being an amazing read!

This book is about three Americans–a jaded Chicagoan book seller, an Ohioan factory owner, and a New Yorker insurance agent–who, for different reasons, make their way to a small island in the Caribbean called Mabouhey. They each end up finding spiritual rebirth by the end of this 500 page novel.

A Place Called Schugara is a refreshing work of literary fiction that tells the tale of love, loss, family, and spiritual rebirth. It is a slowly paced novel and you need to take your time reading it. But it’s totally worth spending your time on, so don’t make this tome’s length scare you away!

I love a book that has multiple characters and also makes them memorable. This is a struggle many authors seem to have, but English has flawlessly and memorably portrayed every single character. The highlight of this book is how no character is just mentioned for the sake of moving the story along. They’re fleshed out really well, a lot of background is given, and you understand their motivations and thoughts really well.

And sometimes, this can be a problem too.

Towards the end of the book, I was getting a little tired of the two or three page introductions every marginally important character had. But that could be just because I wanted to finish the book today. 🙂

Another thing I really liked about this novel was the humor. It’s a misconception that literary fiction is too serious. It has its moments, and so does this novel. There are a lot of witticisms in the novel that will have even the coldest of hearts cracking a wry smile.

A Place Called Schugara should be read my anyone who enjoys literary fiction about serendipity, love, and spiritual rebirth.

Rating: 4 out of 5


~ Shruti

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