Eleanor by Jason Gurley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Most souls wait for a very long time. In the end, the peace they seek is usually within themselves, not within the confines of the world they left.”
A lyrical and ethereal story, telling the tale of what happens to a family who is falling apart because of the death of beloved daughter, Esmeralda. Every thread that's held them together starts pulling after the tragic accident that has Esme thrown against the rear window, glass in her hair, not ever going to open her eyes again. Her twin sister, goes on a journey tinged with magical realism and manipulation of time, to a unknown place called the "rift".
“And it is miserable to think that this is what adulthood is like: two people, cowering behind their grief, lashing out at each other like injured animals.”
Her mother and father have separated because they couldn't handle the pressure after the incident. Their grief is raw, toxic, and the exploration how this can affect and change us as human beings was a fascinating thing to watch progress. How her mother has anger issues and is addicted to alcohol, and yet is still loved by Eleanor despite everything that she has done.
“This is how the darkness is. It knows nothing else. It fills crevices, pushing into the finest, narrowest corners, ascribing no meaning to the events that it carries, but birthing and then swallowing them again as they expire.”
I found that there are lots of parallels to Eleanor's namesake, her grandmother Eleanor, who supposedly went for a swim on a wet foggy day and never came back. There's always a little bit of darkness lurking at the edges of every page, or every life situation that these ladies encounter with. I would say that this book mainly highlights the mother-daughter relationships that are messy and ugly but so real. I can only applaud Gurley for showing these twisty paths to one's earth, because that's so hard to do in an intricate nuanced way like was done here.
“Time is a river, and it flows in a circle."
If you like things with manipulating time or changing the timeline of events, this is definitively the book for you to explore. There is tons of contemplation about what time is, how we many times wish desperately change it. Eleanor, her father and mother have to face that is a span of time, they've lost so many things. I especially feel sympathetic to her father, who although he's far from perfect, at some time has lost his whole entire family and doesn't know how to navigate this element called "time."
The ending left me with more questions than answers, and so in my opinion that was one of the only unsatisfactory part of the book. Without going into any spoilers, I was very confused in what way this "thing" would work and if would give the intended "happy ending" that was desired with doing this act. I just wish it could have been more closed-off, instead of the author leaving it so open ended.
****Thanks to bloggingforbooks and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**
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