Heh. I suppose my blog is just about the only place in the world where you’ll find these three books mentioned in one breath. I don’t think any three books could be more different…chosen hero demon hunters, drowned planet dystopia, and a memoir about a peculiar friendship with a homeless guy. Then again, why not? All three are teeming with life, empathy, wit and understanding. But let’s go into detail.
This is the third part of the Gallows series. Those of you who’ve been following my blog for a while know that I was ever so skeptical about going into this series. Because, well, you know. But what can I say? I guess I’m now officially addicted. I still defend the claim that I don’t usually read chosen teenage hero/demon hunter/vampire stuff, but I’m totally making an exception for this author. Last thing I saw on her website, she’ll publish the next three parts soon, and I know I’ll be among the first to purchase them. Blame the unique humor and the more than relatable characters. You don’t need too much brain to follow the story, but hell, it’s great fun.
I suppose the first thing that comes to mind if I were asked to describe this book is, raw power. In a disturbingly realistic dystopian version of our world, where climate change made the Poles melt and earth is flooded, people are struggling to survive on nothing but their own ingenuity. A collection of short stories, each author supplied their own unique view of what might happen, and how our world might look like. The sad truth is, it wouldn’t make us better people.
What impressed me most about this collection is on the one hand, the deep understanding of the workings of the human mind the authors show, on the other the attention to tiny details. Like with every anthology I’ve ever come across, I didn’t love every single story, but most of them are true gems.
First things first, I received a free copy of this one in return for an honest review. And boy, am I going to honest the hell out of it.
As the title says, it is a memoir, a true story, of a woman and a friendship. The woman is Sarah, forty, and struggling to stay afloat in the mess her life has somehow become. Torn apart by a job she doesn’t feel she’s up to and a husband whose attention is fixed on his psychotic client, she finds an odd sort of peace, or at least some sort of getaway, in her friendship with Mot, a homeless, insane man, who wants nothing from her other than acceptance for who he is.
With almost brutal honesty, Sarah recounts the days of this brittle friendship. She tells of little bursts of light, of the voices Mot keeps hearing and who force him to live his life the way he does, of tiny steps towards one another, of fear and anger, exasperation and despair. She holds nothing back – not the self-doubt, not the attempts to change Mot into someone who might survive the next winter whether he wants it or not, not even the realization that she might need him more than he needs her. And most of all, Sarah speaks of understanding, of acceptance, as she and Mot carefully tread around their tiny common ground, trying to agree on a version of the truth they both can live with.
All this is crafted with so much skill, it makes me hope Sarah might one day turn to writing fiction. I’m looking forward to the tales she might spin. I truly don’t know whom I admire more – the woman, or the writer.