RANDOM ACTS OF HEROIC LOVE is a fantastic debut novel by a very talented writer. Scheinmann spent six years writing his debut, and as you read, you can certainly see how it could be viewed as a labour of love. I think this book has been a cathartic experience for Scheinmann, and it just so happens to be a tremendous piece of work.
The book esentially follows two stories - one is of Mortiz Daniecki in 1917. As a survivor of the war, he is captured and put into a POW camp. Yet this is not where his story ends, for what keeps Mortiz fighting to get through the war and back home is the young love he has left behind there, Lotte. Before Moritz heads off to be a soldier, they share a kiss together and it is this kiss that spurs Moritz on; the memory of her sustains him and gives him reason to live. Once he escapes from the camp, Moritz then faces an arduous journey walking his way home, to his love and the life he had before.
The second story is set in 1992 and follows Leo Deakin. At the age of 25, Leo wakes up in hospital having survived a crash whilst travelling in South America. Upon waking, Leo discovers that his girlfriend Eleni did not survive the crash, but he cannot remember anything about it. As he struggles to rebuild his memory of what happened, whilst coming to terms with his loss, you follow him on this journey.
Through these two stories, Scheinmann has managed to explore the many issues of bereavement, love, survival, hope and travelling on physical aswell as philosophical journies in great depth and to great effect. Even if you have never lost a loved one, or been separated from your love, I am sure that you will be able to appreciate and understand the power of the emotions behind this extraordinary novel. What makes it even more so remarkable is that the journey Moritz makes across Russia was actually undertaken by Scheinmann's grandfather. Leo's experience of losing his partner at a young age is also another experience related to Scheinmann, so this knowledge shows just how much of his soul he has exposed within these pages.
I would recommend RANDOM ACTS OF HEROIC LOVE to anyone who believes in the power of love. This is a great book, it shall stay with you long after you have closed the pages.