Friday, June 6, 2014

Boy on the Edge by Fridrik Erlings

This could be a hard review for me to write. Have you ever read a story that left you wordless as you read? That is what happened to me while reading Boy on the Edge.

Erlings, an Icelandic author, sets this story out on the edge of alot of things. For one, the physical setting is a home with some property outside of town next to a giant cliff leading down to the Icelandic- frigid coastal waters. Two, he frames the parental figures on their own edge: the mother figure is soft and motherly, warm and compassionate, and utterly unseen and cruely dismissed by the father figure, a fiercely frightening and frightened priest who seeks to command and demand others do his bidding and every single action he spouts off about or utters. Third, the boys who come to stay at this foster home are on their own sort of edge, being removed from their own family-of-origins to stay with this "family" while they serve out a sentence and do their penance. Which takes us to Henry, the main character. Henry has difficulty putting into words his thoughts and feelings. He experienced some pretty judgmental crap early on and has resorted to not talking much to simply survive the trials that make up his life. He makes friends with a giant bull, one of the herd of bovines that he cares for. As a teen, he watches and listens, tossing around in his mind what friendship can mean, what unhealthy relationships do to a person inside, and what kindness can do to one's relationships. In time, Henry finds his own way to "speak" with kindness to humans, and in turn, creates his own home.

This was a powerful read for me. I truly found this quiet book both remarkably written and breathless as I read. A small disclosure: as I came into the final pages, I literally sucked in my breath, stunned at the turn of events. I had not even imagined.....see what you think when you read it. You might be on the edge like I was...

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