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Blanky Kindle Edition
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“You say you can’t imagine what it must be like to lose a child. Let me make it easy for you. It’s the beginning of the end of your world.”
Stephen is struggling with the recent loss of his infant daughter, Robin. His wife, Lexi, has “temporarily” moved in with her parents in order to grieve alone.
“. . . everyone has lost someone, and nobody knows how to cope . . .”
The sense of overwhelming loss immediately permeates the reader’s senses. We endure Stephen’s loss of his child, his wife, the normalcy and routine that his life once had, and even his own will and convictions.
“. . . Self-preservation is an amazing thing. It can make fighters of the fallen . . . but it can’t last forever . . . When you’re beaten, sometimes it’s best just to stop struggling and embrace the end . . . “
The darkness of this novella was impossible to dispel–yet at the same time, I found myself perversely not wanting it to end. The words Burke uses evoke the feelings with such certainty and fluency that they are simply magical on a page.
“. . . Losing someone makes you lose yourself . . . “
Stephen’s depression is compounded further by the physical distance between he and his wife. With Lexi choosing to grieve on her own, she is, in effect, blocking out her husband as well, citing the memories of their house– “. . . The house where we became us . . . “ –as too painful for her.
As usual, Burke nails overwhelmingly, not only the atmosphere and tension of this tale, but also that of the characterization of all of the individuals involved. The heartfelt meaning of this story is unequivocally natural human emotions and how some try to go on after a horrific loss. The prose is simply . . . perfect . . . at conveying the exact thoughts and feelings you would honestly find in a situation like this.
“. . . All these moments, even the less pleasant ones, are snapshots we can never replace once they’re lost, and it leaves us wishing for just the slightest glimpse of them if it means we can feel whole again. If it means we can pretend just for an instant that we’re still alive . . . “
There are times, too, of optimism, of “maybe they will be able to move on”. Unquestionably, Burke is a master when it comes to the human psyche, and his words are able to effortlessly guide the reader along the paths he wishes to show us.
However, there is much more to this story than that.
Before little Robin’s birth, Lexi had procured for her a strange baby blanket at a vendor’s market. The seller, an old man with a misspelled sign that read “Baby Close”. At first, nothing appeared “off” with Blanky, and Lexi even went as far as to say it was the infant’s favorite toy.
When Stephen later thinks he hears a noise coming from the now-empty nursery upstairs, he goes in to find Blanky now lying on the otherwise bare floor. A tangible part of his departed daughter’s life, he and Lexi are soon wrapped up in happy memories of their baby girl.
Slowly though, sinister thoughts and dreams begin to plague Stephen each day and night. He couldn’t voice the problem that nagged at him, but once accepted, he couldn’t “pretend” otherwise.
“. . . We should never have seen Blanky again. Because we buried her with it . . . "
With this, the story instantly crosses over into psychological horror. We’ve passed from the logical emotive side of things, and gone into a realm where anything is possible, where nothing can be predicted with any amount of certainty. Yet Burke is able to seamlessly weld these two worlds together, making them inseparable to both Stephen and the reader as the nightmarish journey continues.
“. . . the edges of the world can cut you . . .”
When the reality you count on can no longer be trusted, do you surrender your sanity, or fight back no matter how unlikely the result may be?
“. . . Blanky had come home . . . "
BLANKY is another spectacular tale from Kealan Patrick Burke. This is a story that is rich with “real” characters, poignant emotions, and that darker side which can truly take your imagination . . . anywhere. Few authors can make a story work as well as this one.
An unforeseen event occurs that throws the healing process into confusion and Stephen in his utter despair seeks out the market trader who sold Lexi the baby blanket as he is convinced this is the route of all evil and the cause of his despair. But is Stephen suffering a mental breakdown? Can we believe his narrative? Stephen purports to love and worship his wife and daughter but can we trust his mental state?..."I may have lost my mind for a time, but grief makes everyone crazy. Losing someone makes you lose yourself, makes you yearn for the impossible"....
A beautiful, uneasy and difficult to read short novel by Kealan Patrick Burke. As with so much of his writing the emotion and sadness is laid bare for all to see.... " you must try to get on with things or the grief will destroy you. You must put away the reminders of loss to have any hope of surviving."......"I feared that when Robin died, Lexi buried me right alongside her."...."The seasons were changing and the house was old attuned like arthritic bones to alterations in temperature."..... The ending expertly complimented the themes of loss and heartache and it would appear that nothing could save the Brannigan family as they..."went to lay with the Goddess of Grief. Recommended.
Steven’s grief was raw, and you knew that is whole life had fell apart. However, he had a purpose once he found the blanket. He was getting his life back track, going out with his work mates and rekindling his marriage, but fate has an evil streak. After he started having the nightmares and disaster strikes again, he became a man possessed and he only has the blanket on his mind.
This story is enthralling, how something so innocent like a baby’s blanket can be made so creepy. Steven’s grief was real and as a mom I would not wish this on anyone. As you are reading this book, you are following Steve’s journey as he comes to terms with his loss and whilst you are feeling sorry for Steve, the author adds a twist that has you doubting your loyalties and I finished the book not knowing who I believed.
As this is a short story, it can be easily read in one sitting. Reading this it will have you displaying so many emotions and at the end I felt that I had ran an emotional marathon. Although, this is a horror book, it is also a story about grief and loss. This is the 1st book I have read by this author but it will not be the last. I have just downloaded a couple more to read.
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