I’ve been reading a lot of fiction involving grief lately. I’m not sure if this is a coincidence or an unintentional leaning. I described a group of similar books in an earlier post. These latest three begin with loss and grief, but build very different stories..
Enon, by Paul Harding, describes Charlie’s life and struggle after his teenage daughter dies in a cycling accident. The grief is palpable and it draws Charlie down into its vortex, leading to drug dependence and mental anguish. The man he becomes is unrecognizable. All is lost. In the background, the grief unearths other losses, times past, and in particular loss of the community for which the book is named.
Taylor Jenkins Reid, in Forever Interrupted, balances the story of grief with a story of romance. Elsie loses Ben after six months of marriage, to a bicycle accident (another common theme here, bikes are dangerous). Her grief is complicated since her husband never told his mother he was married. The conflict between the two women adds to the tension of the story and reminds the reader that grief is never experienced in isolation. Loss affects many people in a community or family, and is manifest in different ways.
The final book in this “grief trio” is the very popular Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This book has more twists and turns than a mountain road, pointing in one direction while going in another. Grief is here, but it is overshadowed by mystery, lies, and embellishments. In fact, anyone with a knowledge of how grief works and moves, would recognize something amiss in the way the characters respond to the loss they face. While the other two books ended in some sort of redemption, some resolution, this one leads to a place which is possible, but less than plausible.
All three were great reads.