“All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage”
Recommended by a fellow reader whose choice of books is quite like my own. And so here it is… my thoughts on the book I read this week.
“Mary always says houses are like children, they don’t forget the bad things that happen to them.”
The one quote from the book itself I believe sums up this beautifully written piece of art. Set in a quaint small town in upstate New York. The author Elizabeth Brundage uses language and emotions in a complex way to describe each character and the setting. And there are many of those. The peripheral ones get a story too, which itself is a lot of information to take in one book. But her style of writing is such that you want to keep reading about them. Even though each story is making you sob more and more.
Setting and the relationships in the book have one thing in common. Both have been irreversibly damaged by one incident and therefore carry an unnerving silence and creepiness. Predictable disgust and disappointments are passed on from one generation to another. Because all we ever want is to fit in a society we don’t even like.
The societal upbringing that we all are taking forward like it is some sort of an accomplishment to be proud of is a major theme. That was my understanding. Each character is trying to either fit somewhere or break out of, depending on their upbringing, privilege, and personality. I think my cynicism enjoyed the most while reading this book because that was one feeling that never left me. You can be brought up in a rich family or a middle class or a poverty-stricken one. The only common thing binding us all is the society we live in. How worried we are to please the society of unknown than our thirsty souls.
There are emotionally happy moments as well that calm your restless nerves. Yet the only happy person is the little daughter for obvious reasons. Life has not yet touched her. She still finds joy and love around her. I am sure every reader will find someone they can relate to in the many characters weaved into the story.
This is what I took from the book.
It takes courage to stand up for yourself especially when there is no one to support you. Every person has its journey of highs and lows. And in the end, whether you achieved or lived the life you wanted does not matter. What matters is that you never stopped trying. Because the moment you accept there is no way out is when your life just ends. And that is what happens in the story too. So read if you are ok with a few tears and disturbing truths of outdated institute of marriage. I give it 3 stars. Firstly, I cannot enjoy a book without quotations. And that slowed me down. There were moments when I had to shut the book for hours just because it was difficult to follow who was speaking when. Secondly, at times the writing felt repetitive and almost dragging yet not going anywhere. Lastly, I did not completely agree with the ending. My biggest frustration with life has been, why certain people get to be the way they wish to without any consequences. While the rest of us carry the burdens of singular mistakes till the end. I want to see karma take control at least when I read books if not in real life. And so, it leaves me a little disappointed. I would have liked some sort of gothic justice played into the story to give it the well-deserved ending.