November 15, 2017

Macky Reads The Woman Behind the Waterfall

The Woman Behind the Waterfall book cover
For seven-year old Angela, happiness is exploring the lush countryside around her home in western Ukraine. Her wild imagination takes her into birds and flowers and into the waters of the river. All that changes when, one morning, she sees her mother crying. As she tries to find out why, she is drawn on an extraordinary journey into the secrets of her family, and her mother’s fateful choices. Can Angela lead her mother back to happiness before her innocence is destroyed by the shadows of a dark past? 

I figured I’d let the blurb ground things right before I review The Woman Behind the Waterfall because it’s highly important to understand what the general concept is before being immersed in the full sensory assault-type narrative it has to offer. It’s the type of allegorical narrative that is reminiscent of the film What Dreams May Come, but less afterlife and more timey-wimey. 

Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is how, in an incredibly roundabout but poetic way, it hints at the journey of recovering from loss by understanding that there are larger contexts and other threads beyond the one your current tragedy is focused on. Angela’s mother has, like many who have suffered personal loss, stopped living. She sees nothing beyond her current situation and that tunnel vision is really one of the biggest hindrances to moving on. Now, it’s not the same for everyone, but there is something powerful about setting the narrative of your life against a totally different, yet also truthful context that effectively changes the whole picture in general. And that’s what this book does. 

Angela becomes the lens by which we see how a woman begins to learn to pick up the pieces of her broken life and try again. That very journey itself, minus the multi-perspective narratives and the allegorical use of spirits and threads of destiny, well, it's is powerful on its own. That Leonora Meriel managed to blend the hyper-surrealism into the whole mix to come up with a haunting tale of loss and recovery is an added treat for anyone who appreciates the genre. It’s heady, chock full of symbolism and otherworldly flare. People who aren’t used to this kind of allegorical story telling might get a bit lost in all the imagery, but if you recall that this is a story about a woman finding the strength to put her life in order, you just might make it through to the end without being too confused. 

Beautiful. Vibrant. Certainly not for everyone and I would dread/be intrigued if Hollywood picked it up and made it more 'accessible', because there is a rare gem in here. Really, it’s all a matter of committing to finishing the journey.

Publisher: Granite Cloud | Publication Date: October 1, 2016
Source: Bought the Kindle book


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