UNVEILING THE MYSTERY OF LIFE AND DEATH by Sylvie Daniel Bidot

UNVEILING THE MYSTERY OF LIFE AND DEATH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A woman grapples with the death of her son and mother through intense study of spiritual texts.

The late-night knock at the door was one any parent dreads: police officers bearing terrible news. Bidot’s son, Richard, and her mother, Louigina, had been killed in a car-train collision. Devastated, she wailed, she rent her clothes, she beat a scalded and angry retreat into herself; here, she recounts those shattering moments, giving into days and months, with drama. Her emotions, and subsequent dealings with her family and friends, are raw but undercut by a lack of grammatical oversight: of communing with her daughter, “I tried to explain to her as much as I can”; of approaching the everyday, “The most important thing I had is peace of mind.” This is important because Bidot’s gradual re-composure has much to do with clarity of thought and self-expression. Her daughter and father provide glints of solace–if less than she may have hoped for–but her coming to terms lies primarily with reading. “The knowledge in the books taught me how to deal with my sorrow, sadness, and grief.” Aristotle, Plotinus, Bacon, Wilde, Remi, not to mention Tagore and Yogan-Gaibi, and perhaps foremost Kahlil Gibran, are quoted, though in a cherry-picked style. Even thematically it is difficult to grasp on a visceral level that “they answered the questions of why it happened to me, what concerned about my son’s dreams, and why did my loved ones leave without warning?” Still, give it to the author that she found a path to not just recovery but revelation through meditation, and she wishes to share this. For her, meditation is a way in and out and beyond one’s state of being: It is a window into the spirit, the bridge to salvation; “it expands the realm of our love to universality.” Unfortunately, she never gets down to the specifics of exactly how one goes about meditating to luminosity.

A well-intentioned paean to open-mindedly reflecting on grief, if too nebulous for immediate application.

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4257-6821-8
Page count: 158pp
Program: Kirkus Indie
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