Monday, January 15, 2018

The Quiet Sadness of American Loneliness: Another Place You've Never Been

Tracy, the main and constant character of the debut novel by Rebecca Kaufman Another Place You've Never Been is actually not sad. She is one of those brave quiet fighter struggling to live without questioning obviously too much about what is life and why some things happen and other not. 
Her father was living far away from her geographically, while his mother was with her, but lost in her psychotic sleep. She had dreams and simple wishes, the longing for a full life, that actually never happened as she wanted. She is a fragile soul but still strong enough to keep living, against any odds of loneliness and abandonment. She has a simple life, mostly a voyeur of other people happiness and family achievements. But she keeps being there. Where else?
I couldn't love Tracy, with her sad little life. She is as real as the lonely countryside she spent all of her life. Where tomorrow is equal with today, and changing yourself might be a fight against the very nature of things. The story is slowly enfolding, with the mysterious Native Americans appearing once in a while for setting up the main directions and the lessons learned. They are like the deep voices of the land, connecting invisible lives looking for direction. One of them will explain to Marty, Tracy's father who is about to die, that death is just 'another place you've never been'. A smooth transition to one of the many life unknown.
Although the story as such is pretty slow and lacking any sentimental dynamism, I couldn't but fell in love with Rebecca Kauffman's writing, so precise and balanced, which reminded me sometimes of the clarity of wording created by Raymond Carver. With her next novel to be released this year, The Gunners, already in my Kindle ready to read, I am happy to explore further this beautiful writer.

Rating: 4 stars

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