from the publisher's site:
After discovering her neighbor’s suicide, Kate Nardek realizes the same kind of despair that spurred Michael’s self-destruction fuels her teenage son’s violent blowups. She seeks psychological help for him, a decision that changes both their lives. In her quest to vanquish her son’s demons, Kate must face down her own, and, subsequently, rethink her beliefs about mental illness, good and evil, death, and her own self-worth.The narrator tells Michael's story in italics, interspersed with Kate's attempt to deal with the memories of the suicide and her problems with her teenage son. I thought Michael's story was revealing and quite touching. At the beginning of the book he compares his pre-suicide thoughts with the time he had to untangle and rewind kite string when he was a boy. Even with his father's help he fell into exhausted sleep after several hours. When he awakes in the morning he finds the string neatly coiled on the spindle. "He knows there's a way back to a neat coil, but he's worn out by the loops and has lost faith in overnight miracles. His mind is numb, as when a child, hands full of tangled string, blame and punishment stinging him like whip lashes."
Michael’s journey parallels Kate’s as his soul flies into the center of creation. There, he discovers something has noted every twist of his life. This being’s perfect knowledge generates the healing salve of perfect compassion. If Michael confronts the truth behind violent episodes in his recent life, he too can learn compassion. Gripping, poetic and powerfully uplifting, Falling into the Sun explores spiritual truths of Hindu, Native American and Christian traditions as it tenderly grapples with the generational legacy of alcoholism and mental illness.
The after death experiences were thoughtfully dealt with as well. Interesting, providing many thoughtful moments.
Any mother of a teenager can relate to the struggles of a violent, mentally-afftlicted child even if her own is a model child. The fear, horror, concern, despair and anger are easy to sympathize with. Kate's challenges become ours, our hearts break for her at the same time we try to encourage her to be brave and keep searching for help and answers.
I was amazed at the beautiful writing of this, the author's first novel. Several times while driving last week I would read excerts to Candleman that I thought were especially poignant and well written. Falling into the Sun deals with some complex situations in a beautiful, thoughtful way. Even though belief in God is part of the healing process, this is not a typical Christian novel. It's meaty. Not oversimplified like some I've read. I look forward to reading future novels by Hazard.