Christina Carson writes important books with huge messages. After I read Suffer the Little Children, I thought about her deft portraits of human despair when a life is lived without connection to others.
Living a life in balance and without judgment recurs once again in Dying to Know. In this novel, Ms. Carson uses health as the vehicle for expressing her themes. She also examines the way we hide our true feelings in check, even from those closest to us. There are times when communication on the very basic and level playing field of childhood friendships doesn’t work unless both sides are willing to come forward with the masks removed.
Dying to Know showcases five friends who’ve been together since ten years of age. They’re now “thirty-somethings” and know very little about one another until the main character, Callie, explores her own mortality, and the way she views herself and the world around her.
Her call to conscious living brings discord to the group. Through their various reactions, Callie is able to assess her relationship with them. Three of them are annoyed and then angry with her decisions and acceptance of her dis-ease with herself. Most of them are narcissistic, but Callie doesn’t see this side of them until she begins questioning her view of the world. One of the members of the group, Sue, is unable to hear and accept Callie and in that closing down, Callie is able to walk away.
I read once that there are certain people who will pass through our lives for a specific reason, but they may not linger with us for life or any set time. They will pass out of our lives when the reasons for their presence disappears. This occurs in Dying to Know. Callie is in turmoil about Sue until she stops and examines her gut. Her gut tells her what is the right thing to do.
The setting of Vancouver, British Columbia, brought back fond memories of a few days spent in this lovely city. But Carson also goes deep into the landscape of Canada drawing pictures of a majestic natural world. Making the main character, a photographer and illustrator of inspirational books made for a perfect vehicle to express the messages in the book.
The group of childhood friends continues and expands as each member finds his and her own way to the truth. I bookmarked so many places in Dying to Know, it’s difficult to choose the most important one. The messages stayed with me after I put it down and remain etched in my brain days after finishing it.
The book reminded me of a way to live that incorporates living in balance with nature and the world swirling around me. We act from fear whenever we go into imagining what could happen or what could go wrong, leaving us immobilized to move forward.
Perhaps this statement from Dying to Know expresses the most important gift I received for reading this novel, “Judgment is the servant of fear; the heart of love has no interest in comparisons.”
See Christina’s guest post on Author Wednesday. She gives more insight into her writing choices.