Told in reverse chronological order, levon a begins in cosmopolitan modern day Shanghai, China. A bloody disagreement at a posh wedding, and the complicated past of an uninvited guest are just the beginning (or the end) of an intricate tale of good, evil, purpose, regret, and lust that weaves backwards in time to reveal the truth, much like a memory plays out in our minds.
The beautiful storytelling is the triumph of the novel, and readers who initially question the experimental format will sing its praises by the end. Similar reverse order has been executed by literary greats such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and even Plato. It works in levon a (a novel, backwards) because it serves to deepen the meaning of the actions. After the enigmatic characters experience the consequences of their choices, the complex reasons and events that occurred previously reveal why they made them.
J.D. Radke was the first American to work for Shanghai’s international airport in Pudong, China. Among his many business ventures, Mr. Radke owned a small tattoo shop in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains in Southwest China. The tattoo designs were all made in house by locally famous calligraphers. Radke lives in a charming old house on a picturesque street in St. Paul, where he often writes on his open front porch. He is retired from Delta Air Lines, and appreciates his air travel perks as he travels to talk about his book.