A Child of the Sun

Pierce Butler. Beech Hill, $14.99 trade paper (180p) ISBN 978-0-9908200-8-6
Butler's (A Riddle of Stars) ode to a once-blossoming author, an imaginative epistolary account based on the turn-of-the-20th-century historical record, chronicles Katherine Mansfield's final months. Butler, professor of writing and literature at Bentley University, enters the mind of Katherine through her journal as she searches for inner peace while succumbing to the realities of tuberculosis. Under the instruction of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, who runs the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man south of Paris, Katherine longs for a deeper understanding of life and her part in it. Tired of feeling like a burden to those around her—including her husband and her longtime friend Ida—Katherine hopes Gurdjieff's influence may help her recuperate enough to start a new life. She learns much from her new relationships, including patience from a dancer, compassion from a young Lithuanian girl, and a deep level of support and understanding from an old friend and mentor. Never able to have a child of her own, she grows especially close to a young boy, Patrick; he gives her the opportunity to feel the kind of love she never had from her own parents, bringing her a joy and contentment she didn't think was possible. More than just a retelling of Katherine's emotional struggles and deteriorating health, the novel illuminates the teachings of the Institute: to accept all forms of the self, put others first, feel empathy for all types of human suffering, and forgive and accept the past. (July)
Reviewed on: 08/22/2016
Release date: 07/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
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