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The one who is no longer with us,
This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Hardcover)
The author of this novel chose a rather difficult subject. Or rather a difficult way of telling a story. The story is actually told by a dead person. Not just any person but a young girl murdered by a neighbour. A man living alone who as it eventually turns out has killed before.
Now, since the story is about someone who is already dead the author may well have chosen to tell us about her afterlife. Instead, we are told more about what happens after her life rather than about her own afterlife.
This is really a story about a family. The family to which this young girl belonged when she was alive and to which she still seems to feel she belongs after her death. It is the story of the remaining members of this family with a different emphasis put on each one of them at various stages of the story. There are also certain parts devoted to other people who were also a part of the young girl's life before her death or rather who could have become a greater part of her life had she remained alive.
So as it turns out this is not really a story about death as such. Nor does it pretend to be so. Really what the author is presenting as with is a story with a different point of view.
The point of view of the one who is no longer with us. And who can no longer be with us.
It seems the story would be interesting in spite of the absence of this different point of view. The reactions of the people in the murder victim's life still maintain our attention of their own accord.
So why have the dead person's point of view?
I suppose it is an element of the novel which makes the novel stand apart from other novels where a similar subject is dealt with. Yet I wonder to what extent this element has actually been used as a device so as to capture as far as possible the imagination of the reader prior to and without as yet even delving further into the details of the story.
Of course there is only one way to find out and that is to actually read the novel. The novel is an easy read as such and one that can take you away from your daily reality since the story is told rather well.
One calming effect induced by this novel is the knowledge that no harm can befall the person telling the story since she is already dead. Even though reading the novel can also create emotions of care for those left behind and their fate. Emotions that tend to mirror the worries of the book's heroine who although dead still cares for the people who mattered to her when she was alive.
One quality not to expect however from this novel is answers to any questions one may have over the afterlife. This does not seem to be the aim of the novel. The link of the story to the death of the storyteller seems really to be aimed solely at the presentation of the story rather than anything else.
In relation to the actual way the novel ends there is an episode contained in the final part of the novel which briefly intertwines the two worlds of death and life together. To refer to this episode in detail would risk ruining the new reader's pleasure in reading the novel. However, this episode does seem to form a rather peculiar and inapt development in the whole plot of the novel creating a new set of expectations for the reader at a point where such expectations quite simply cannot be met.