Carol Moffat's Reviews > Breath and Shadows

Breath and Shadows by Ella Leffland
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's review
Sep 08, 2013

it was amazing
Read in January, 2010

Leffland begins her book with a quote by Sophocles, “Man is but breath and shadows.” So already we are driven into Plato’s cave. Her prologue begins with this cave image. From there this image is infused between chapters.
To begin with, cave bears, in utter darkness are settling in the millennial strata of the cave seeking sleep and safety.
And then we are introduced in the first chapter to the 3rd generation of a privileged Danish family. Leffland moves through 4 generations of this family on the primordial stage set with giant bears in a cave. There we see the shafts of time through the heaving, the crushing, the movement and changing of the earth's very belly, then its surface.
Glaciers come, glaciers go, stalactites explode, and caves implode. Families produce profound beauties, brilliant accomplishments, freaks, insanity and always chasms of mystery.
Individuals become interpreted to others or each other by the limited perceptions of knaves, fools, cruelty and intense love.
Shards of truth emerge from eternal ages of muddied understanding.
Disparities between privileged classes and those with nothing are slogged through as confused people slog through difficult days. And somehow, by the vast movement of earth and time and glimpses of light, we begin to understand some of it – by and by.

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Linda Good review!

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