A pitch-perfect exploration of grief and a compelling story about the ghosts–real and figurative–that haunt us in the wake of love and loss.

Virginia and Tim have what seems to be a perfect life: professionally successful and deeply in love, they live a dream existence in the Boston suburbs with their cherubic son Ben. But one horrible night, that existence is ripped to shreds with a single bullet. Burglars break into their home and shoot their son–only six years old–in the head, killing him instantly. A murder trial brings convictions but no solace, and their marriage goes into a tailspin. As is so often the case with grieving parents, divorce seems the only answer. Virginia and Tim retreat to separate rooms of their stricken home and wait for the papers to come through. But soon, strange happenings disrupt their already strained home life. Pieces of jewelry mysteriously disappear, toys in Ben’s room begin moving on their own, and both husband and wife catch glimpses of a spectral presence that closely resembles a young boy. Month, much like Toni Morrison’s exquisite Beloved, explores haunting as a metaphor for bereavement. As Virginia and Tim experience the terrors of a ghost who may or may not be their dead son, they are forced to deal with a devastating tragedy they might otherwise have evaded or repressed. Lam explores such delicate issues with a soft hand. His evocations of the marital strain left by the death of a child are deft and touching–no small accomplishment given such somber material. Further, the author weaves together the natural and supernatural elements of his tale with skill and grace. His is an unbelievable tale, but Lam never stretches our imaginations beyond the breaking point, and this poignant story never slips into either melodrama or camp.

Sad, true and beautiful.

Program: Kirkus Indie
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