The Weight of Memory

Shawn Smucker. Revell, $15.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-8007-3531-9
Smucker (These Nameless Things) again infuses a magical realist narrative with inspirational themes in his ponderous latest. After 58 year-old Paul Elias notices a lump behind his ear, he receives a terminal diagnosis of brain cancer and is given three months to live. Now that Paul’s addict son has disappeared, his biggest decision and fear is determining who to ask to care for his 11-year-old granddaughter, Pearl, a child whose hyperactive imagination might be more than just a child creating imaginary worlds. It’s Pearl who first introduces Paul to the ghostlike silver-haired woman “who needs my help to find something,” she says, after the woman draws a map of Paul’s hometown for Pearl during school. Paul decides to return to Nysa, his hometown, which triggers memories of the death of his wife, who had also seen the same silver-haired woman as Pearl. Paul and Pearl meet up with Tom, another friend from 40 years before who has also seen the mysterious woman. In a whirlwind climax, Pearl discovers what the woman (who calls herself Death283) seeks: a confession from long ago and a miracle. Smucker’s characters believably shield themselves from traumatic past events, making for a resonant allegory about forgiveness and faith. Fans of James Rubart will want to take a look. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/20/2021
Release date: 07/01/2021
Genre: Inspirational Fiction
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-0-8007-3998-0
Show other formats
Discover what to read next