More Than Words Can Say
by Robert Barclay
Wm Morrow 2012
Do you have a beloved grandparent? Who you have loved and honored throughout her or his life?
Have you ever had a suspicion that there are some oddly unexplained elements in their lives?
Would you wonder about a post-death gift from your precious grandmother of a cottage on a remote lake that you had never visited, and where she had never returned from the time she was a young woman? What if she also left a letter explaining that you should open a box hidden beneath the floorboards in the cottage?
Would you be curious and do as she asked? Or, dismiss the gift and words, list the property for sale, and move on with your life?
In More Than Words Can Say, Chelsea confronts just this situation. She is in her early thirties focused on career and her dog. With a love life of periodic relationships, she is touched by the gift and mystery bequeathed by her grandmother.
Robert Barclay tells a touching warm story, which would make an excellent movie with a cast of about the composition of Fried Green Tomatoes. Chelsea encounters life events of her grandmother and herself. She is transported from big city life to a much simpler rural existence. The mysteries of both lives evolve in a touching dance of parallelism.
I felt that Chelsea learns much about herself as she learns of the real life of her grandmother. I believe that we would all like to experience words from beloved, departed relatives that help us understand our own lives through the prism of their own. When such words involve confession of deeply-felt, self-defined sin, the empathy and affection of the grandchild is magnified. In this lovely story, the experience also provides healing for Chelsea, as she embarks on her own new life.
Barclay has a fine ability to craft a touching, memorable story. I especially enjoy well-written narratives that dissect emotions of characters and readers alike.
Having gotten to know Chelsea so well, I wonder what happened in the remainder of her life with the joyful new love that she found in the same place as did her grandmother. Will Chelsea turn the torment of her grandmother into her own happiness?