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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

LSBBT BONUS BOOK REVIEW: Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker (Magical Realism)


LIGHT FROM DISTANT STARS
by
SHAWN SMUCKER

Genre: Christian Fiction / Magical Realism / Rural Fiction
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 16, 2019
Number of Pages: 400


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When Cohen Marah steps over his father's body in the basement embalming room of the family's funeral home, he has no idea that he is stepping into a labyrinth of memory.

Over the next week, Cohen's childhood comes back in living color. The dramatic events that led to his parents' separation. The accident Cohen witnessed and the traumatic images he couldn't unsee. And the two children in the forest who became his friends--and enlisted him in a dark and dangerous undertaking. As the lines blur between what was real and what was imaginary, Cohen is faced with the question he's been avoiding: Is he responsible for his father's death?

Master story weaver Shawn Smucker relays a tale both eerie and enchanting, one that will have you questioning reality and reaching out for what is true, good, and genuine.

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I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher. This is my thoughtful and honest review. 

Spanning two timelines, one in the present as a man and the other in the past as a child, we follow Cohen in his journey to figure out what happened to his father. Very early on, it becomes known that Cohen's relationship with his father was strained, and by alternating between the past and present, the author's deft storytelling created not just an unsettling and suspenseful read, but a masterful character study on family dysfunction. Events that occurred during Cohen's childhood shaped the dynamics of this entire family, and in order to somehow cope in such a devastating predicament, an element of magical realism is introduced to help Cohen work through and process his emotions. Because Cohen is reflecting on this period of his life as a now grown man, this becomes not only a beautiful exploration of memory, but also on the idea of whether Cohen himself can be a completely reliable narrator. 

"He was fourteen and finding things out, fourteen and seeing his father for the first time, or a kind of father he had never known before: a human father, a failing father, a rock-bottom father." 

Even though it's my job to do so, I can't even begin to do justice to how amazing the author's writing style truly is! This story is so emotionally riveting and incredibly thought provoking. I found it difficult to put down and have thought about it long after I turned the final page. Whatever your relationship with your own parents or whether you are a parent yourself, the story really opens readers up to really looking at the legacy we leave behind. 

"Cohen wonders how other children and parents go on through their lives, choosing what to forgive, what to ignore, what to become embittered by."

For all of his father's failures, Cohen still holds high some very esteemed moments that ultimately provide just enough stability to keep their relationship steady. And yet despite everything, Cohen becomes a father figure along the way to several young boys in desperate need of guidance and a feeling of security.

The book is woven with enthralling lines that speak so much truth to the roles, and sometimes the reversals of those roles, that exist between children and their parents. In much the same way as a parable, this story is one that I will definitely return to time and again to learn new spiritual lessons, while also always having those learned previously at the forefront of my contemplation.  

"Everything he hated stood there in front of him in the form of that darkness, and he sprinted toward it." 

The use of light as a metaphor for truth was absolutely stunning and so well done! Despite the somber tone, the story is laced throughout with the sense of hope, grace, and redemption that leads to a touching and satisfying feeling of closure for not only Cohen, his father, and their family, but also for the reader as well.

Every now and then a book comes along and stamps itself on your heart, and with this story, I found exactly what I needed at this moment in my life as I continue with my own grief from my father's death. If you read nothing else this year, do yourself a favor and read this book.  








Shawn Smucker is the author of the young adult novels The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There, as well as the memoir Once We Were Strangers. He lives with his wife and six children in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

GRAND PRIZE
Copy of Light from Distant Stars
+ Look to the Stars 8”x5” Journal + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card; 
2ND PRIZE
Copy of Light from Distant Stars + Personal Library Kit; 
3RD PRIZE
Copy of Light from Distant Stars + $10 Starbucks Gift Card. 
July 17-27, 2019
(US ONLY)


a Rafflecopter giveaway  Best of luck! 


Many thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and Shawn Smucker! It was an absolute pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and author extras!

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
7/17/19
BONUS Post
7/17/19
Excerpt
7/18/19
Review
7/19/19
Excerpt
7/20/19
Review
7/21/19
Playlist
7/22/19
Review
7/23/19
Author Interview
7/23/19
BONUS Review
7/24/19
Top Five
7/25/19
Review
7/26/19
Review

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1 comment:

  1. Outstanding review. I really want to read this book and have it in my Wish List cart on Audible!

    ReplyDelete

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