Reviews in 200 Words

The Motel of the Stars by Karen McElmurray

In Novel on September 30, 2011 at 1:03 am

A lost son. A pained man. A dissolving marriage. Jason Sanderson floats through life like the smoke of a midnight bonfire, a blooming residue of combustion. He is a father haunted by a regret that spills like ink into the fabric of the narrative, staining and seeping through every surface and page. He is eternally coupled with contradiction. Hope and disappointment. Love and emptiness. Truth and meaninglessness. These heavy moments are handled with grace. The plot advances in a slow weary daze reflective of the subject matter. McElmurray deals with grief and the ugliness of misunderstanding in an intimate way, very often giving the reader access to her characters in rich detail. Sanderson’s journey is lonesome. He seeks what every animal must to survive: light. A man searches for the brightness he once had. His love. His starlight. His son. But instead he is left tragically broken in his despair, surrounded by reminders of his past, unable to leave them behind. The novel is filled with raw and earthy imagery: mountains, clouds, lightning, fire, ash, and bones. “Celestial bodies moving one note to the next via the sound of the universe. What word for this sound?” A haunting realization: there is no sound in space.

-Chris Noel

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