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22gigantes.com - In a compelling story of life after the death of a loved one by suicide, this novel is a powerful exploration of how family and friends cope with loss. Grief, with its long, unrelenting fingers, pokes into secrets—recent and long forgotten—as the survivors discover themselves braver and more compassionate then they could have imagined.When Dust Steward, an ardent environmentalist, shot herself in early October 2012, her husband, Robert, was running for US Senate, her best friend, Lily, was having an affair, and her daughter, Grace, was a normal self-absorbed thirteen-year-old. Dust left no note, so her friends and family can only guess why she did it. The novel explores how grief can stir up forgotten sorrows, and how the death of someone we love can make other losses almost insignificant. The story revolves around how friends and family cope and find hope after tragedy.Lynn Arbor’s novel paints an absorbing portrait of the devastation wrought by suicide. Loss beyond imaging leads to hope, and then—for many characters in this fast reading novel—brave new beginnings.
Most helpful customer reviews 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful. The characters feel like real people By Elizabeth Hobbs Voss This is a very thoughtful, sensitive and well written book. The characters feel like real people. The author's style of shifting from one character's perspective to another (using a close third person) is effective. Each character has a different personality and his/her own ideas about why Dust Steward committed suicide.Grief affects each of them differently, and ultimately leads to changes and new beginnings for some of them. The writing is clear and fluid. You'll love this book if you like Elizabeth Strout, Sue Miller, Alice McDermott, Alice Munro and Elizabeth Berg. 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful. Artful and engrossing. By Yvette Kaplan The author has written a compassionate book about grief and the impact of suicide on family and friends. The suicide of her friend forty years ago inspired the writing of this book. She writes with a painterly eye. The author writes with empathy, love, and humor about her characters. She shows how the lack of empathy for Dusty moved her along the road to suicide. I am tempted to read this beautiful book again. 2 of 2 people found the following review helpful. Read this book. By Joy S. Powell When someone close commits suicide, echoes reverberate then and forever after in the lives of those left behind. Lynn Arbor has in this book portrayed that impact through the reactions of Grace, Christina, Lily, Fred, Roberts and others. Such a dark topic could lead to despair, but at the end of the book I was left with hope.What I came away with is that, generally, we are not responsible for the decision of a loved one to kill him or herself. It takes a while to work through the inevitable guilt, and find a peace and acceptance. But more than that, as the author shows, after guilt can come transformation, insights, and new possibilities.I think everyone, not just those who have lost someone to suicide, should read this book.The book goes beyond being a novel about the impact of suicide. It’s funny and even sexy at times. It has strong, distinct characters we grow to care about. And it has a powerful sub theme about climate change and our responsibility to take action. In addition to that behemoth theme, Arbor gives some very interesting art instruction. Now I want to go look at the art at the Detroit Institute of Art with Lynn’s book in hand. See all 24 customer reviews...
From Kirkus s In this novel, a woman’s friends and family deal with the aftermath of her suicide as they try to understand her reasons and their own roles. The last Lily Cummings hears from her best friend, Dust Steward, is a text message: “I love U. Be.” Be what? Dust (shortened from Dusty) can never tell her, because she shoots herself with her husband’s gun in the fancy bathroom of their home’s luxurious new addition. Lily, 37, together with Dust’s husband, daughter, mother and neighbor, struggles with her grief, confusion and guilt. Dust left no note and had apparently been planning the suicide for some time. Why? A passionate environmentalist, Dust hated the house extension and its enormous carbon footprint—concerns that her husband, Robert, with his conservative political ambitions, dismissed. He also threatened to keep their daughter, Grace, from her if she tried to divorce. With good cause or without, everyone wonders if they could have done more. Dust’s suicide becomes a catalyst for other major life changes elsewhere—a collapsing marriage, rapprochement with a long-gone mother, etc. Throughout this intelligent and perceptive novel, Arbor traces with strength and delicacy the many strands leading up to and away from a suicide. She brings out the textures of people’s lives through their in-jokes and little customs so that readers can feel the web of living connections that Dust was part of and left behind. The childhood friendship between Lily and Dust is shown to be full of the shared fears, hopes and joys that kept them friends into adulthood, which helps define the scope of loss. Though everyone tries to play detective to understand Dust’s suicide, the answers are messy. After Dust’s death, one of her jigsaw puzzles, unfinished, lies gathering dust, the pieces never put together. A thoughtful, sensitive but never saccharine exploration of what suicide leaves behind. About the Author Lynn Arbor was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has lived in California, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Illinois. She’s spent her life writing and making art. When her daughter and son were little she wrote children’s books: Grandpa’s Long Red Underwear was published by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books. She contributed to a decorating column in the Detroit News and wrote two unpublished novels. For twenty-five years she made her living as a graphic designer, but after serious illness, she turned to fine art. She’s best known in the Detroit area as a painter. When she created a website for her paintings, she wanted to include a link to her blog—which meant she had to write a blog. The blog reminded her of the pleasure of writing, which has occupied most of her time for the past four years. She lives in Michigan, with her architect husband, John Bogner.
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