I just finished reading Touch by Alexi Zentner. Its not a brand new book, you have to wait a long time on library waiting lists to download any popular new book. This one came out in 2011 and sits on Amazon’s list of top Canadian fiction for that year.
The book is one of those multi-generational sagas inspired by a death bed vigil, and the memories of family that the passing of a loved one inspires.History and generations are spun together to tell the story of a family and a town. There’s a twist here though. Its not just a simple history, but rather has mixed into it a spicing of mysticism and indigenous lore.
In an interview with the National Post in 2011 Zentner is quoted “If you take a cold, blunt view of most religions, and you sort of say, ‘Well, here’s the basis for it,’ most of them sound crazy,” he says. “It’s the belief that makes them real. I was interested in that question: When does a belief become a myth? When does something you believe in become just a story?” . I read the quote after I read the book and, while I wanted to discount the mystic bits of the story as unbelievable, and in fact interfering with what really happened, Zentner’s quote does give me pause. Does our understanding of history, our belief systems, our philosophy, rely on what really happened or what we believe happened.
That aside…it was a good read.