Sunday, September 25, 2011

So Near - A Novel by Liza Gyllenhaal

So Near: A Novel. Liza Gyllenhaal. New American Library. September 2011. 336 pp. paperback. ISBN #: 9780451234575.

One minute, a father is worry about his father’s business turning sour in a changing economy. Then the same father is enjoying a baseball game, having a few beers, and thinking how great life is, while his wife is preparing for a large barbecue party. Half an hour later, their lives are turned upside down with a terrible, terrible loss, and the horrific future seems to be an impossible reality to get through. Everyone tries to ensure that there is no guilt to be carried but each parent believes he or she is to blame for this nightmare they are now living second by second, minute by minute…

How does one cope with the most devastating death one would not want to imagine? Cal’s brother says a lawsuit is the answer, yet Cal suspects his brother Edwin’s motives are questionable. They are and the further shock that eventually is disclosed is expected because of certain moments when the reader is expecting something financially crushing is about to happen, so aptly does the author foreshadow each phase of this world-shaking event.

Little by little, Cal and Jenny Horigan mourn in different ways and learn not to speak in order not to expose blame or self-recrimination. It reaches a point where each turns elsewhere for desperate communication. Before the Horigan marriage totally sinks into a hole beyond redemption, a stranger comes into their world in a way that could put the finishing touches on a doomed relationship or perhaps provide something else of a more miraculous nature.

So Near is a heart-rending, honest, pragmatic, searing look at love that is called to endure far more than any person should ever have to bear but a love that is so deep that a spark remains to be kindled by a series of miraculous mistakes and interactions. Read it and weep! Read it, smile, and celebrate the gift of life! Tender, compelling novel, Liza Gyllenhaal – you so obviously know of what you write!!!

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