The Making of June

Annie Ward

Genre: fiction

When June Carver made the choice to follow her husband Ethan from their sunny beachside home in Santa Monica to the Balkans, she had not realized that Bulgaria meant a one-room studio in a concrete housing block with no hot water. She'd had no idea that her real journey would be from dutiful wife to Mafia mistress, film exec to Third World journalist, sheltered and privileged American to weathered and worried global citizen. In the gray and desolate city of Sofia, she faces (with the help of many bottles of rakia) hitting the big 30, resurrecting her rocky marriage and assimilating in a post-Communist country rife with ethnic conflict and revolution just around the corner. This might be the hardest thing she has ever had to do, June thinks, until Ethan leaves her for a local girl with a tragic past and she has to do it all alone. June spent the first thirty years of her life pursuing the "American Dream"- an image of perfection that society and her family and friends led her to believe in with all her heart. It looked as if she had succeeded. Put-together and pretty, she was a rising star in her career and seemed to have a happy marriage. Away from America for the first time, June quickly learns that appearances can be deceiving. There is actually a heart-breaking beauty to the stark Balkans and her ideal marriage is really teetering on the brink of total collapse. When Ethan leaves, she is forced to stand on her own or admit defeat. Instead of returning to the blue sky and safety of Los Angeles, June vows to go it alone in the darkest corner of Europe. She learns the language, takes a job as a journalist and allows herself to be seduced by a Mafia kingpin as gorgeous as he is dangerous. She self medicates her way from the streets of Istanbul to the Greek Islands and back, hoping to find a reason to go on in the wake of what her family deems a domestic failure. Unexpectedly, June not only continues-she perseveres. Surviving her darkest hour, she re-evaluates her role in the world and resolves to make it a more meaningful one. While it means giving up Starbucks, yoga classes, sushi, satellite television and just a little bit of her sanity, June remains in the Balkans, convinced for the first time that she can make a difference-in her own life and in the lives of others.