Jane S's Reviews > A View of the Ocean

A View of the Ocean by Jan de Hartog
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Aug 11, 2012

it was amazing

For all its slimness at 99 pgs, de Hartog’s tribute to his mother is a gem with deep facets. He chronicled memories of his mother and his time spent nursing her as she suffered slowly from terminal cancer, his writing slow in the articulation of all the unspoken yet deeply felt anguish, doubts over his own intentions and inadequacies, and questions as to whether he was doing the right thing till the end.

In many ways this brought back all the complex and unresolved feelings I have till this day about my dad in his final years, his death and how I felt and reacted to the news. So much went unsaid as with de Hartog and his mother but this book helped to show a different way of gleaning another dimension to my relationship with my dad, a way that simply points to possibilities of moving past trying to reconcile to simply accepting things as they are, and knowing that it is truly and gloriously enough.

I liked how the book doesn’t have neat endings or answers, or any necessarily mystical aspect/end to our human experience. In doing so, it acknowledges how we might always grapple within trying to reconcile memories with reality etc., how that can mislead us into thinking that we are striving for truth, and yet show that such grappling is what makes life worthwhile for the insight that our grapplings don't matter, because we are just part of a continuum of something much greater, more forgiving and ultimately affirming of all our humanness than we allow ourselves to feel for ourselves.
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