A Letter to Layla by Ramona Koval [8/10]

A fine example of theme-led investigative and writing, noted broadcaster Ramona Koval’s third book, “A Letter to Layla,” wrestles with humankind’s deepest past and fleetest future. What can science tell us about Homo Sapien’s evolutionary origins and how does that prepare us for present-day existential challenges? What can speculative science offer along the same lines? Koval seats her travels, interviews, and reading alongside fascinated observation of her granddaughter Layla’s precocious development. The author plonks herself in the middle of the book, offering a beguiling writerly/travel/quest memoir to the reader, and that makes for much of the appeal of A Letter to Ramona, as she travels to Georgia (the republic), France, and U.S.A, and provides mini pen portraits of an eclectic bunch of archaeologists, paleontologists, and futurists. I enjoyed dwelling on her gently intelligent style while her mind unpacks her investigation’s conclusions. Highly recommended for general nonfiction readers.

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