To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts by Caitlin Hamilton Summie is by far one of the most emotionally riveting books of 2017.
A series of short stories, To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts is told from various viewpoints that are interconnected in ways the reader might not even at first realize. This connection gives the stories more weight, more value to the reader, because they’re validated by being told from different perspectives. Everything becomes more vivid and alive as it begins to feel familiar yet different.
The stories cover a range of topics from miscarriage to belonging, from self-reliance to the meaning of family. And yet, they all seem to relay a similar message in some underlying way. Beneath the surface of each story’s words, there is the theme of forgiveness, of moving on. This theme though is not quite represented or expressed in the traditional sense of “forgiveness.” Instead, Summie takes the idea of forgiveness (or movement toward forgiveness) to a very realistic and heartfelt place. Forgiveness doesn’t have to mean forgetting what has happened, instead, for Summie’s characters, it means an acceptance of the circumstances, a willingness to face the circumstances, and the courage to at least attempt to change them, even if only in that character’s perspective.
Each story is enthralling in its own way, and it’s a challenge to put the book down. Even though many of the stories are only vaguely connected, the end of one piece is a propulsion into the next. The writing is smooth in a way that flows off the page and makes the stories seem more like experiences than something that’s merely being read. In this way too, Summie draws her readers into the depth of who the characters actually are, and it’s hard to let them go.
Overall, To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts is a beautifully crafted work of art that tells the simple and intricate story of what it means to be human, to suffer, and to keep moving on.
To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts by Caitlin Hamilton Summie is slated for release by Fomite Press on August 8, 2017. You can preorder a copy of the book at your local bookstore.
FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.