Monday, February 25, 2013

Silver Orphan, Martine Lacombe

Silver OrphanThe ringtone carries a peculiar melody - not a personalized tune selected specifically to identify a loved one or a foe to avoid; the banal factory ring seems to convey a sense of doom. The accompanying vibration-induced dance on the glass table nudges the phone away from me, as if the handset itself feared the incoming call. 

Silver Orphan was definitely an interesting novel. The premise itself is interesting: "An endearing tale of unlikely friendship and compassion between two diametrically opposed individuals - a vibrant young woman and an elderly frail man - Silver Orphan illustrates that giving up yourself reaps untold benefits. The subject matter covered in Silver Orphan is disturbing from a collective point of view. How we treat our elders, how we discard them - both in life and death - mirrors how we fare as a society. The old will soon outnumber the young - a chilling prospect treated with compassion in Silver Orphan. Interwoven in the stark reality of our superficial ethos is a story of love, redemption, and compassion. Silver Orphan should be included in ethics class curricula nationwide. A chance encounter; an unusual request; two lives inexorably transformed.  When self-absorbed Brooke Blake uncharacteristically sheds her narcissistic armor, she discovers that the hand we lend may pave the way to our own redemption. Silver Orphan is a perplexing hall of mirrors where every image reflects agonizing - though liberating - secrets." Yes, there are many secrets in this book.

This is not the kind of book I normally read, but when the author offered me a review copy, I was glad to give it a try. It seemed interesting. And I was not disappointed. Though the writing style was a bit peculiar, it was also really distinctive and quite new for me. 

The two main characters, Brooke and Frank, take turns narrating. Frank narrates various experiences from his childhood that have stuck with him, Brooke tells of her meetings with Frank. Throughout the narration, we see how she is changed by the experience. At the beginning, she actually reminded me a bit of Bernadette from Where'd You Go Bernadette; she hates social interaction, and looks down upon everyone else. The subject, was of course, much different, but Brooke was very similar to Bernadette in some respects. It was amazing to see her transformation.

Read the description in quotes. It pretty much sums up everything I could say about this one. Some of the images in the book are so powerful, some of the statistics quoted in it so disturbing. Imagine: an eighty-six year old man, very fragile and weak, with no known relatives at all. One of my favorite things about the book was definitely the title. Silver Orphan. It's so apt and so simple, yet it conveys so much. Of course, not all older people are silver orphans, but there are some. It's a scary thought, and one that this novel talks about very well indeed. I feel like the author could have acknowledged that there are plenty of older people who have a loving family and lots of younger relatives. My grandparents, for example. Silver Orphan is about the ones who don't, who when they die, have no next-of-kin to bury them. What does one do?

I heartily enjoyed this thought-provoking book, and was glad that I gave it a try. I would recommend it a lot. It's not in bookstores until May, but you can order it on Amazon and other sites now. 

232 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

No comments:

Post a Comment