Thursday, July 16, 2009

Falling Into the Sun

by Charrie Hazard

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.

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 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."

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.


Anna said...

Sounds interesting and emotional. Thanks for the review.

Diary of an Eccentric

Kailana said...

Sounds good! Thanks for the review. :)

jenclair said...

This does sound interesting, and I usually shy away from suicide stories. Dealing with the survivor's aftermath and healing, however, definitely engages my interest.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This one sounds interesting. I've been waiting for it to arrive, but so far nothing??? THANKS FOR THE POST

Staci said...

I just got this book in the mail last week. I can't wait to get to it!
Loved your thoughts!

Mishel (P.S. I Love Books) said...

I have this book to read too. Your review really makes me think I'll absolutely enjoy it =) Thanks so much.

Zibilee said...

This sounds like a really interesting and emotionally complex read. I really like that it has Christian aspects, but that it doesn't hit you over the head with them, and that it deals constructively with the suicide theme. I will be on the look out for this book. Thanks for the great review!