On this crisp, bright, chilly Sunday morning, I am sipping my steaming cup of Chai and thinking about the past week, wondering why I haven’t read very much. It was a short week, and I only finished Sad Peninsula on Monday. I had an appointment on Tuesday evening, and a friend had an Open House on Thursday after work, so there goes three of my reading nights. Ah well, at least I have something to do today… read!
I am about a quarter of the way through Rudy Wiebe’s latest book, Come Back, and so far it is interesting and sad, heartwrenching and yet somehow still hopeful. It tells the story of Hal Wiens, a retired professor who is mourning the death of his wife, Yo. While in a coffee shop one morning chatting with his old Dene friend Owl, he sees a man wearing an orange down coat walk by the window, a man he is sure is his son, Gabriel. But that can’t be… Gabriel killed himself 25 years before. He takes off on a mad search for the man, who has disappeared down any number of streets or alleys at the busy centre of Edmonton, but to no avail. This occurrence prompts Hal to search for answers to the question that has been haunting him for the past 25 years: Why did Gabriel, a young man of 24, kill himself? By immersing himself in the things Gabe left behind, diaries, journals and pictures, Hal begins to understand Gabe’s life, and to face his own grief and guilt as he begins this emotional journey to acceptance and inner peace. Seasoned readers know that these types of heartwrenching books always (well, usually) lead characters on a spiritual journey that is, while difficult, necessary to overcome the heavy emotional burden they have been carrying around for years, perhaps even a lifetime. It is pain of the “cleansing” variety, and so we don’t become bogged down in the pain, but rather, we continue reading to get to the moment when the main character is finally able to forgive him- or herself and find the peace that they so deserve. I expect that this book will prove to be of this type, and I look forward to getting to that moment for Hal. Shamefully, I have never read anything by this Canadian Literature icon until now, and I’m so happy that this book is holding my interest so far. I hope to be able to write about it next week in fuller detail, as I expect to finish this short novel in just a couple of days (I have nothing else planned to interrupt my quality reading time this week!).
There is another reason I have for wanting to finish this short novel soon,a novel I started reading because of the committee I'm on - once I finish this novel, I will allow myself to read the new Peter Robinson book, the 22nd book in the "DCI Banks" series, Abattoir Blues. I have a copy of this book for review for the local paper, and I can't wait to get to it. Heartwrenching books about spiritual journeys can be wonderful reads, but sometimes I just want a good British murder mystery! More on that book in a later post...
I also just finished listening to ASA Harrison’s The Silent Wife as an audiobook, and it was awesome! There were two narrators, one for Jodi and one for Todd, and they did an excellent job of bringing the characters and words on the page to life. I know that we just discussed this book at my book group in September, but I needed something to listen to and it was the only thing I had at the time, and it turned out that it wasn’t really too soon to experience this excellent novel again, perhaps because it was in a different form. So I would highly recommend this version if you are not inclined to read the physical book.
That’s all for today. Have a fabulous fall day!
Bye for now...