There are many books that I read in the course of the year and enjoy, some that I enjoy immensely. These books I close with a sigh and indulge in a bit of reflection. Their contents pop up in my thoughts frequently over the next few days – after that, less frequently, but still occasionally stopping by.
All Souls Day is not one of those books. All Souls Day is a book which for me finished rather undramatically. There was no moment of reflection. There was an awareness, rather, that the journey it had taken me on had been a journey of moments, becoming clear in intent only towards the end.
I also knew that I had no need to reflect briefly, because the words, the story, the characters, the images and the ideas had become embedded in me. No need to have a gentle goodbye. This is a book that will continue on with me. A book that will be one of that rather tiny collection which I will read repeatedly because although they are embedded in me, there is often a need for a reminder, a need to take the journey again.
All Souls Day is a book that travels like life itself. As I read along, I felt no desire or need for plot – something of a plot emerged gradually, but the captivating part was the flow of the book itself. I could not stop reading it just as I cannot stop walking through my own life. And yet at times I read it gradually, as if afraid to go too fast, afraid to bring it to a close. Beautiful and full, All Souls Day captures the magic of the everyday – its accomplishment is the same thing that its main character strives to do in his bits of film, the ones he rarely shows any one but keeps for itself.
There is so much more that is in this book and I know that each further reading will be just as rich as the first, perhaps even more so. There are explorations of city, of culture and character, and of history and its impact on all of these. The connections among all the different themes becoming clearer as the book progresses, but there is never a lecture or a final conclusion imposed on the reader. The final thought offered is gentle and allows the readers to do with it what they please.