Sunday, June 27, 2021

Faye, Faraway

  Faye, Faraway
Author:  Helen Fisher
Publication Information:  Gallery Books. 2021. 304 pages.
ISBN:  1982142677 / 978-1982142674

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "The loss of my mother is like a missing tooth:  an absence I can feel at all times, but one I can hide as long as I keep my mother shut."

Favorite Quote:  "I think there's more to God than the big beardy feller in the sky. I know that God is on earth, in people, in good deeds. God is in the big things, and the small things. He's under the fingernails of our daughters, and he's in all the kindnesses we show people. I know that what people call 'God's work' can be called 'lightening the burden' for another human being. My kind of God might be a bit different from yours, maybe that's all."

The book poses a question. "What about your past? How often would you travel there, given the chance? Often? Never? And when you got there, would you think about staying forever?"

Somewhere along the way, it provides an answer. "You have to choose between the past and the present, and there really is no choice, Faye, it's a no-brainer. You can't live in both, and if you don't choose between the past and the present, then one day that choice may be made for you, and you may not like the way it goes."

In between, the book is an emotional look at grief. Faye lost her mother as a child; that loss makes her who she is and is with her at every moment of her life. Although Faye had a loving, caring childhood even after her mother's death, is happily married, and has a full, vibrant life, a part of her longs for her mother.

The book is also a look at faith and belief. Faye's husband is a pastor. His faith is kind and gentle and about providing for and helping people. His vision and support helps Faye address her doubts.

That is the philosophical bent of this book which is compelling and thought provoking.

Then, there is the plot of the book. Faye has a box from her childhood. It once contained a gift she received. Now, it holds memories so strong that she cannot let go of the physical object. "We keep stuff in order to hang on to what's important, but it's an illusion ... These objects are not bridges to the past, they're bridges to memories of the past. But they are not the past."

In Faye's case, however, the box becomes a literal bridge to the past. She finds herself back in the time before her mother died. She is there as an adult but interacting with her mother and her own younger self. The collision between past and present is a challenging one. Faye's husband and her daughters are her anchor to her real life. Her longing for her mother is her draw to the past. Which does she choose, and what if she finds herself in a position where the choice is made for her?

The character I find "missing" from the book is Faye's younger self. Theoretically, there is only one Faye - the little girl who loses her mother and grows up with that sense of loss. However, this story is so much about the adult Faye that the little girl is almost an aside. This is especially true of the ending.

This back and forth continues, and the turmoil continues. The ending, when it comes, is not really a surprise. However, for me, it crosses the boundary of plausibility. It takes the book from an intellectual and emotional consideration of possibilities into an unrealistic science fiction realm. That being said, the longing for people gone and the pull of an opportunity of more time with them is one I and, I think, everyone will relate.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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