Clive always wanted to travel – in death, he makes one final journey during his Eight Days of Reckoning. A beautiful, touching and heartbreaking tale of love
The dedication to Scott Thompson‘s mother, someone who committed her life to helping others, says it all – this is a book about coming to terms with your life, about helping others but most of all it is a book of love. We meet Clive Kinsella as he is packing his car for what he believes is going to be the first time ever he will see something of the world. Now is the time to travel, he is retired, his mother no longer needs his care as she’s deceased, his children are grown-ups. Clive and Annabelle, his wife, are relatively strong, able to discover some places on Earth, other than Georgetown, South Carolina. That is where he grew up and where he did not plan to stay, but stay he did for all his life.
Clive’s last day on Earth was a “good day to travel” and travel he would – his final trip from humanity to Heaven. Before Clive can even contemplate going to Heaven he has to go through his eight Days of Reckoning. It is a way of reviewing your life, of going through the pain and love, the anger and guilt, the mistakes and faults you have made while alive. It is going to hurt a lot and cause terrible pain but everyone needs to go through the Reckoning. Clive is not alone – his grandfather George Kinsella (Pachu as Clive calls him) will be his guide. Clive has no choice but to straighten his soul and come to terms with the guilt and pain, taking responsibility for his actions in life. Only then will he be able to move on. The consolation for the painful lessons is a choice of an Earthly destination to visit for every day Clive goes through his Reckoning the irony being that in death Clive finally visits the wonderful places he in life longed for.
The life events Clive has to review are much more painful than he could ever imagine. No man wants to see his loved ones grieving for him on his own funeral. The journey through life brings Clive from the days in the Army where he met his best friend Zebrowski (Zebra) to his first meeting with his future wife Annabelle, their marriage and the birth of their children. It shows Clive what he has done and how he failed to acknowledge the pain his friend Zebra was in or the struggles that Annabelle had to go through on her own. In retrospection, Clive recognises his faults but also the good things like love for his family and his mother Marion who lost her husband when Clive was only four years old. Marion did her utmost to provide Clive with a happy environment while Pachu took over the fatherly responsibilities. When it is Marion’s time to go, Clive strives to help her to the best of his ability but still feels it isn’t good enough.
It is a breathtaking painful and wonderful tale of a man’s journey through life, seeking to accept the choices he made in his life. The God in the book is a God of love, who needs you to accept responsibility for your actions before you are able to move on to Heaven. For those of us, who do not believe in (any) God, just regard it as a man’s magical journey to find acceptance and closure with the choices he made in life. The book shows us it is not the mistakes we should be worried about but to acknowledge that we are human and we have to let love be the predominating factor guiding us. I found the book beautiful and touching, sometimes even poetic “recognition came like a missing boat returning from a voyage on a fog-covered sea”. There were humorous comparisons such as “the troubles had piled upon him like a dump truck of manure” and moving moments, for instance when Marion dies but also when Clive watches over his son in jail. For me, the book could have ended after completing the eight days of reflection as I would have liked the magic to last. But there are some wonderful parts in the Passage and in Heaven bringing tears to my eyes. Read ‘Eight Days’ and find out for yourself!
About the Author
The author Scott Thompson was born in Georgia and the 2010 winner of the Great American Novel contest in literature. His debut ‘Young Men Shall See’ (2012) is a southern novel about growing up in the 1980s in a new, integrated world. ‘Eight Days’ is his second book, a philosophical novel published in March 2016.
|Publisher||French Press Bookworks (10 Mar. 2016)|