Tuesday, August 19, 2014
"The Cuckoo's Child" by Margaret Thompson
I don't know what originally drew me to this book, the cover, the title, the description or the fact that the author is Canadian. Maybe all of the above. But I really was captured by this story. It's a story of profound loss and grief, but also one of love and family, restoration and acceptance. It gripped me from the very beginning as Livvy starts her story in the form of "conversation" with her beloved brother, holding his hand as he lays unconscious dying from cancer. As she talks to him and unburdens her heart, her story starts to unfold and it is absorbing in the way she speaks and the way she puts it together. The writing is beautiful. You go through her life with her, the joys and excitements and then the deep despair of trying to find the lost child. Livvy bears the full brunt of feeling guilty as Daniel was with her when he disappeared and you go with her through the difficulties and the search and then the effects on her marriage and trying to move on with life. When the horrific secret that is revealed when her brother becomes ill you wonder how she will hold up under the news. Her search for family history brings into her life a handful of interesting characters, some that bring some lightness to the story so even though the story was very sad in parts it was lifted by these moments of wonderful characters, but also a character that makes you determined never to become like that. It shows the devastating effects of unforgiveness and hard heartedness and religion gone to merciless extremes. The story and the style and the prose was so engaging I could not put it down. Amidst the heaviness, the author beautifully weaves in through Livvy's voice the joys of life and family, the strength of a committed marriage, and finding hope to go on until the story comes full circle.
Linked with Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books