Friday, April 14, 2017

Life After by Katie Ganshert

This is a well crafted novel centering on surviving tragedy. Autumn was the only survivor of a commuter train bombing. How she deals with surviving and how so many others deal with their loss is the meaty subject of the plot.

This moving novel highlights many issues. One is guilt. There is survival guilt. There is the guilt surrounding the death of a loved one, including the “what if” and “if only I'd” questions. How do we deal with the guilt when another dies because they were doing an errand for us? Another issue is the sovereignty of God. Why are some spared and other not? How does our view of God relate to our feelings of responsibility or guilt?

Another issue in the book is how one learns to live with loss and the hurt. Some never lose their trust in God and find comfort in Him, even when there was no miracle. Others, like Autumn, must deal with recurring terror and nightmares. How will she ever get on a commuter train again?

Perhaps the issue that fascinated me the most was memories. We want to remember people better than they were. Can we change our memories? Do we keep the bad parts secret? Is there a right time to be brutally honest?

I appreciate learning something when I read a novel. Besides learning about the issues surrounding loss, I also was introduced to petrichor and how it relates to that smell of rain.

This is a well written novel and I highly recommend it. Potential readers should be aware that it mostly deals with the after effects of tragic loss and survival. Readers who have recently experienced such a loss may find this well written novel difficult, so intense are the issues involved.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Katie Ganshert is the author of several novels and works of short fiction, including the Christy Award winning A Broken Kind of Beautiful and the Carol Award winner, The Art of Losing Yourself. She lives in eastern Iowa with her family. You can find out more at www.katirganshert.com. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

WaterBrook Multnomah, 352 pages. (Available April 18, 2017)

I received a complimentary galley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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