Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 263 - Falling Into The Sun

Falling Into the Sun
Charrie Hazard

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Release Date: July 2009

Pages: 363

My Rating: 3.75/5


After she stumbles upon his suicide, Kate Nardek sees her dead neighbor everywhere—hanging from the ceiling fan, in her rearview mirror—dark holes where his eyes should be. Three days after Michael’s suicide, Kate envisions her own thirteen-year-old son, Josh, hanging from a garage rafter. She realizes the kind of despair that led Michael to kill himself fuels Josh’s increasingly violent blowups. She seeks psychological help for her son, a decision that dramatically changes the course of both their lives. In her quest to vanquish Josh’s demons, Kate must face down her own, forcing her to rethink her beliefs about mental illness, good and evil, death and, finally, her own self-worth.

Michael’s journey parallels Kate’s as his soul flies into the center of creation. There, he discovers someone—or something—has noted every twist of his life since sperm struck seed. This being’s perfect knowledge generates the healing salve of perfect compassion. If Michael will confront the truth about key people and violent episodes from his recent life, he too can learn compassion. It’s a painful exercise he can refuse. But other journeys to the center have taught him that willful ignorance is like the river Lethe; it leads to only one place. He chooses knowledge.

Gripping, poetic and powerfully uplifting, Falling into the Sun explores spiritual truths of Hindu, Native American and Christian traditions as it tenderly grapples with the generational legacy of alcoholism and mental illness.


I haven't read a lot of Christian fiction in my life. Not for any particular reason, I just haven't really picked one up. When I first read the blurb for FALLING INTO THE SUN, I knew it would be an emotional read and hopefully a powerfully written one. And while I admit there was more reference to religion than I would prefer, I still felt a really strong connection to the book.

FALLING INTO THE SUN starts out with our main character, Kate Nardek, walking into the suicide of her neighbor Michael. And while she was never close to her neighbors, his death shatters the foundation that Kate has stood on all her life. Her son, Josh, is a troubled teenager. Violent and filled with rage, Kate struggles to find the help she and her family needs. She looks to her godmother Jean, her priest and even her sister for guidance and support.

Even though reading this took me a lot longer than I was hoping for, I was completely absorbed with the story. This is definitely a book to savor. Each character is so fleshed out and entirely real. Josh can be a very sweet kid. He's smart, interesting, and can be wonderful to be around. But he's basically scary; his mood swings are so abrupt and violent that I felt completely sympathetic for Kate and her family. He's abusive to Kate, his two younger sisters, and his father. But don't think the novel is full of explosive action-oriented moments. The part that keeps you on edge is the emotion, plain and simple. I felt Kate's frustration and fear. I felt her hopelessness. Hazard definitely has a gift with writing.

I wasn't turned off by the religion. It wasn't preachy in any way. Hazard never once made me think I had to be more religious to be happy. I wasn't uncomfortable while reading the novel either. It's easy to understand that in times of stress and heartache many people turn toward God or religion in general. So I wasn't surprised at all to see that Kate did this as well. I was surprised at the way Hazard approached spirtuality in general. Jean, Kate's godmother, is a very spirtual person. Instead of limiting herself to one religion, she embraces all. And I believe that was Hazard's attitude as well as she wrote FALLING INTO THE SUN. I found it refreshing and a wonderful thing to experience since I'm not very religious myself.

I really enjoyed this and I highly recommend it to anyone that is willing to give it a try!


Booklogged said...

I liked this one, too.

lilly said...

I read a fair amount of Christian fiction and this one definitely sounds like something I would pick up.
From my experience, surprisingly very few books in this genre are actually preachy in any way.

Teddyree said...

Thoughtful, honest review! I don't think this one's for me but I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

Diane said...

I don't read much Christian fiction either, but this sounds good. great review.

Tiina said...

Interesting review.


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