” … enduring, gripping, enriching …”
Something to Share by Peggy & Al Schlorholtz reveals a delightfully harmonious intersection of literary genres— love saga, autobiography, travelogue, adventure, multiculturalism — within a lifetime of loving service. Multilayered perceptions challenge stereotypes of meaning and raise the reader’s self-awareness.
The love story started with a tenth grade Iowa beauty flinging an orange at Al Schlorholtz to grab his attention in the Study Hall. And grab it she did, till the ends of the earth, starting from rural Iowa to Princeton to Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Nepal.
A love story of epic dimensions that goes beyond romance to include the exotic peoples of faraway lands.
The Schlorholtzes were clearly multicultural well before the advent of the term as it is generally understood these days. The sub-text of this remarkable work is in the mise en abyme tradition retrieved from heraldry by André Gide for the purposes of critical analysis. It leaves no doubt that despite himself, the author’s crystalline insight into a pivotal geostrategic environment is piercingly unique.
For its penetrating understanding of South Asia, Something to Share should be compulsory reading for the blow-dried inductees into the US State Departmant’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, just as Mumtaz Shahnawaz’s The Heart Divided was avidly read by missionaries of the Schlorholtzes’ caliber. Perhaps that, but certainly the clarity of their Christian faith made it hard to believe that they were actually missionaries, as with love and without any fuss they served others.
For the discerning reader, the fact that a one-star general’s phone call was required to clear the Schlorholtzes household furniture going from Pakistan to India speaks volumes. That Pakistan had a Christian general is startling. The authors do not state the obvious, offering adventure after adventure to be retrieved by the reader in quest of the truth.
That the authors state the facts and withhold their opinion is an example for the kind of contemporary journalism that appears to excel in opinion over fact!
And that is the skill with which the intersecting molecules of this remarkable narrative sustain each other.
The missionary professor and his wife’s life story is laudably free of religious clichés or evangelical rhetoric, while carrying veins of mineable secular abundance. The Christian message is implicit in acts of selfless devotion.
The Schlorholtzes lived through Ayub Khan and Zia-ul-Haq’s dictatorships, survived two wars that included getting bombed and watching aerial dog-fights over their landscaped campus home known for its gracious hospitality. They survived Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s socialism while their daughters studied at Radcliff with Benazir Bhutto whom they remember as ‘Pinky’!
Something to Share revives the forgotten tradition of the likes of Reverends James Gardner and John Williams, Margaret Prentice, Adomain Judson, William Carey and John and Ida Scudder, who continued enriching lives by penning their unique experiences during retirement.
La difference Schlorholtz is that the professor’s legendary wit pervades the manuscript in Balzacian brush-strokes.
So do settle down with your tipple of choice in your favourite armchair and let Al & Peggy Schlorholtz work their magic on a cold winter’s day.
As a son of the authors I am completely compromised by conflict of interest in commenting on this review, but I will forge ahead and say that you have beautifully captured several profound essences of my parents’ lives and what they stand for and have given to the world.
Your review of Something to Share is greatly appreciated. As the author I commend your insights and sensitive reading. Thank you for the inclusions and commentary about life in Pakistan. Our family had such an inspiring time in Pakistan, enriched by the culture and people whom we were priviliged to teach and from whom we learned so much.