For the widow Lynn, her two sons John and Luke, as well as Lukes's fiancé, Vera, and Rwandan refugee Emily, happiness were abandoned a long time ago.
Secrets and hurt After Before, led them slowly and quietly into darkness. Mentally, emotionally, as well as physically, they were slowly dying because of the wounds from their respective pasts that were still mentally bleeding them dry.
Luke found solace in his dedication to Jesus. It did not matter how his insecurities or strong urge to control, reflected on other people. He was the responsible one; the decision maker, the one calling the shots.
John found his solution in theater and making people laugh.
Lynn had her valuable porcelain collections and her paintings behind a locked door. She gave up her dreams of becoming a historical fiction writer, to fit into her late husband Philip's world and raise her two boys. She secretly treasured her own ambitions and dreams, painting it all onto multiple-colored canvasses where nobody could see them behind the locked door of her studio.
Vera wanted her savior to be Luke. She wanted to start a new life after drugs, a tragedy, and a mentally abusive relationship with Charles. She wanted to be pure and good and keep her secret hidden from her family and fiancé. But the estrangement from her parents, her decision to become religious and her fear of losing Luke, brought her to a point where the silence became devastating.
Emily, the Rwandan Tutsi refugee, had to endure the truth behind her mother's words: you can outrun the things outside your body, but not the truth hidden inside it. Her lonely road deeper into hell was non-negotiable. She wanted to be left alone with her sorrow in her own silent world that deafened her.
" And all at once, there was an alternative" which none of them ever explored until terminal cancer was diagnosed in Lynn.
They were forced to open up the chest of darkness, exposing their inner turmoil to searing light. None of them was able to escape while time was running out. The resentment, hatred, insecurities and traumatic memories began their ascend towards light, towards real forgiveness and redemption.
This is a powerful, intense, introspective novel. One that leaves the reader in deep reverie and retrospection. Very well written. There were gentleness, and brutality; insecurity and grace.
I think of the concept 'emotionally charged' when I think back on the experience. A beautiful read. It is a book I would like to read again and can highly recommend it. However, the ending was too much of a cliffhanger in some ways, to really complete the emotional roller coaster ride. But still a very commendable read despite of it. The Rwandan genocide places this book in the historical fiction genre, since an important part of African history is highlighter in the book. I am, however, not sure if it was meant to be classified as such. But it was done brilliantly.