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162 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1998
“I’m buying them for my son. Today is his birthday.”This book is a first of its kind for me. It has no character names, no locations, no dates, no times, and no specifics of any kind. It’s one of THE MOST pure forms of storytelling I have ever read. I can sum up my review in just one quote from this very book itself.
“Really? Well, I hope it’s a happy one. How old is he?”
“Six. He’ll always be six. He’s dead.”
“The prose was unremarkable, as were the plot and characters, but there was an icy current running under her words, and I found myself wanting to plunge into it again and again.”There is a coldness in this book. A feeling of detachment towards life that comes with life being a bitch to you, taking away something from you that you couldn’t ever bear to lose. A loss that makes you indifferent to many things that should matter and curious about things that should be morbid.
““Lean on me,” he would whisper in my ear, and those few words had the power to make me utterly content.”What’s comforting? The known. Wouldn’t you say? For me, atleast, it is true. When I picked this book, on a random recommendation, no less, I was afraid of what I might be getting into. If I would end up hating the book or writing a ranty review. As I read, I was comforted by a very particular feeling that I have come to love. It is something that I have only ever read in SK’s works before. That feeling of coldness. The knowledge of the fact that we carry light and dark both within ourselves. And we are just as capable of being monsters as we are of being angels. Someone’s savior is another’s tormentor.
“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us. And sometimes, they win. - SK”This book is written in first person POV and it has a sad and dark undertone. The feeling of loss and gloom is rich and it is wonderfully done. The first person POV works like a cherry on top bcz it makes the stories that much more personal. And I personally feel that the anonymity this book has, it only adds to the magnificence of it all. You don’t get to connect to the characters which is why you can focus completely on the story and the feeling of it. The feeling of helplessness and despair. You can feel the bond that darkness can forge. The understanding that it can bring.
“The reason she was crying didn’t matter to me. Perhaps there was no reason at all. Her tears had that sort of purity. I realized she was finally letting flow the tears she could not cry at the post office, and that this sadness was coming to her peacefully from the distant past.”The best part about this book for me, personally, is the thing that I practice in order to forgive someone who’s wronged me. It’s a practice that I couldn’t put in words or was not even conscious of until I read it in this book.
“I would unearth memories, beginning in childhood, of places and occasions when someone had hurt me. I found it somehow comforting to think that his coldness was in no way special or unique.”This is right up in the top five reads of this year. I feel so glad to have taken this book on faith and given it a fair chance. I did myself a service. Completely amazing and enjoyable for such a short read and I would suggest this book to probably everyone who might like a dark read. Pick it up and dive right in! Who knows, you may find something of yourself in these lovely words and stories.
“The door that would not open no matter how hard you pushed, no matter how long you pounded on it. The screams no one heard. Darkness, hunger, pain. Slow suffocation.”