Fiction with a redemptive story line shouts, "Even here. Something is happening."

Finding the Way to Forgiveness and Hope

The summer of 2020 will go down in history marked by disappointing vacation adjustments, angst over schooling arrangements in the fall, and violence and unrest on so many fronts we’re beginning to lose track. I wonder what story you are living, what uncelebrated milestones you have passed, or what ungathered grieving you have walked alone.

As you live your unique story, be sure that you name the losses, for, in giving them a name, they lose their power to control you. They become part of your story and, therefore, part of your offering to God.

These Nameless Things is a powerful and startling work of fiction that imagines a world where the past with all its stories has been (temporarily) forgotten. Even so, it has not lost its power over the people who lived it, and author, Shawn Smucker has woven a tale of magical realism in which Dan, having escaped a place of tortured confinement, cannot feel free as long as his twin brother is still held captive.

The reader is invited into Dan’s wrestling to explore significant themes and to ask wrenching questions:

  • Whom do our memories belong to?
  • Do the stories of others have the power to change us?
  • Can we fix the broken past–even if we did not do the breaking?
  • Is forgiveness the only path to freedom?
  • Why do our secrets hold so much power over us?

Smucker employs two devices of traditional allegory, the dream-vision and the journey, in weaving his tale, and I was reminded of C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce with its freedom of movement between the spheres and the setting of gloomy Grey Town. The author tips his hat to Dante’s Inferno as well, but my advice to the reader is to enjoy the rich story-telling, unencumbered by excessive concern over its literary or eschatological implications.

I found myself reading with a growing resolve to spend my lifetime becoming the kind of person who will enjoy heaven. Until then, along the way, I may be required to stop in my tracks, to address commitments to family and friends, and to comb through our shared memories. Sometimes, however, I will be spurred forward by those same tangled stories.

Even with implied trauma and a scene or two steeped in hopelessness, the narrative’s forward momentum kept me believing for future grace. Fiction with a redemptive story line shouts, “Even here. Something is happening.”

And a cast of growing characters might just convince a reader that forgiveness and hope can change the course of her own story as well.

Grateful for the wholeness that comes with naming,

Many thanks to Revell for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. If you should decide to purchase These Nameless Things or The Great Divorce, simply click on the title, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Subscribe to Living Our Days to get regular content delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

Newsletter Sign Up

Stay tuned…
I’m working on a new gift for email subscribers that you’ll find in the July newsletter. It’s due to land in email inboxes on the Third Thursday. To subscribe, either hop on the handy (and only slightly annoying) pop up form and enter your name and email address– or you can click here!

Photo by Heidi Fin on Unsplash

40 thoughts on “Finding the Way to Forgiveness and Hope”

  1. Michele, the mention of C. S. Lewis’s allegories and I’m hooked. I want to amen your comment, “I found myself reading with a growing resolve to spend my lifetime becoming the kind of person who will enjoy heaven.”

    Like

    1. I’d be interested to know if others also connected the dots to Lewis’s Great Divorce. I love his work. He’s the one who taught me that I CAN read slowly if I need to.

      Like

  2. “…is a powerful and startling work of fiction that imagines a world where the past with all its stories has been (temporarily) forgotten.” Kind of like what is happening in our country today – the taking down of historical statues – except, these people are destroying our history. A travesty. MM – always a good report. SS

    Like

  3. “a growing resolve to spend my lifetime becoming the kind of person who will enjoy heaven.” – that is just somethiing I’ve never thought of before. That’s pretty powerful. I mean, I feel like its a given we’ll be happy in heaven – but to earn those crowns that will give us the full experience.

    Like

  4. Hello,

    On the positive side, it will also be the summer where we are thankful to all our health care workers. Grateful for the store clerks and workers stocking the shelves. Thanks for sharing the book and your review. Have a great day and a happy weekend ahead.

    Like

  5. I am in need of some good fiction. Thanks for the recommendation, Michele. Good fiction can inspire us just as much as all of the self-help books in the world. I had to smile at this line: “I found myself reading with a growing resolve to spend my lifetime becoming the kind of person who will enjoy heaven. “

    Like

  6. Loved this, Michele: “I found myself reading with a growing resolve to spend my lifetime becoming the kind of person who will enjoy heaven. “

    Me, too!

    Like

  7. I am always fascinated by memories in general because I find that what I remember varies greatly from say what my sister remembers (from the same event!). This sounds like a neat book. Thanks for sharing with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home. Pinned.

    Like

  8. Love the questions here the book poses. Also wondering the answers. My 92 year old neighbor told me that as you age and can do less and less the more you rely on your memories. You may lose other things, she said, but you have your memories to revisit.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
    ********************************************************

    Like

  10. A story of survival? It sounds like a very powerful and probably unsettling read all rolled up into one. Was is a read that you whizzed through? It seems gripping and the themes very thought provoking. Thank you for joining us for the #DreamTeamLinky

    Like

  11. Congratulations! Your post was my Most Clicked at #OverTheMoon this week. Visit me on Sunday evening and see your feature! I invite you to leave more links to be shared and commented upon. Please be sure to leave your link number or post title so we can be sure to visit!

    Like

  12. There will be plenty of missed chances and regrets due to the lockdown and it is so important to acknowledge our disappointments and move on. Thanks for linking up with #dreamteamlinky

    Like

  13. We can usually find a positive in most actions and events if we look hard enough which makes forgiveness of ourselves and others easier. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.