You can never quite be sure of how a book will hit you, but it’s been a while since I’ve felt so disconnected to a novel as The Echo Maker. Emotional distance is a good way to put it. I never quite feel involved with the story or the characters. I feel like a scientist peering into a diorama where these characters glide around each other— moving eerily on different tracts—as disconnected with each other as I am with them.
While the ruminations of the novel are interesting, there is an inauthenticity to how the characters connect to each other. There’s something very anti-septic about it all. For a book about connections, about our relationship with ourselves, nature, and our loved ones…I felt very little connection to any of it.
But I finished the novel. After two years of trying to read the damn book, I finally finished. I bought the book a couple of weeks after I moved to California. And now on the cusp of me finding myself again, I’ve finished it.
This book will always have a symbolic meaning for me. I have not taken away that much from it’s pages….not because it didn’t have much to say, but because it wasn’t the sort of book that ever made me feel receptive to the messages within. However, the act of finishing the book is for me an end of a chapter. It’s strangely appropriate. The characters find some sort of rendemption in the end…it’s not at all what they expect, but find it they do.
The message is that no matter what happens, no matter how much our life distentegrates or loses the precious meaning that we cling onto day in and day out, there is always redemption. The only thing that is asked, is that we survive and endure. If we are capable of that, no great tragedy can knock us down. Tragedy passes, life will always tend towards normalcy if we let ourselves accept it.