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Kate Nardek's life is both tender and searing to the mind and spirit of any sensitive reader - just like reality! Severely traumatized by seeing her neighbor, Michael, immediately after his suicide, Kate is tormented by visualizing him in almost every aspect of her life. Her awareness of his presence undergoes several phases, the first being overwhelmed by the presence of evil's dark power within and without one's person. While Kate doesn't seem to be getting over this horrific event quickly enough to satisfy her husband and family, she is also tormented by her son, Josh's increasingly violent outbursts which at the moment are confined to destroying physical objects but are bordering on threatening physical violence. It's enough to make a person crazy, and Kate wonders whether she's really losing it and whether her family will fall apart in the process.
But the poignant beauty of this book, alongside its acutely mental and spiritual challenges, is enjoying the earthy but transcendent process Kate and her family experience. Kate's journey is guided by a wise and delightful godmother and dear friend, Jean; a rather unorthodox priest, Father Nick; an "old soul" psychologist, Dr. Galen; and a psychiatrist. Kate faces her own inner darkness, her son's unspeakable and frightening diagnosis and her own father's true illness belied by his obvious alcoholism.
"Free-falling into the hands of the God/Goddess" is a wonderful process Kate learns to live in day by day, one that is not a pie-in-the-sky new age-ish type of spirituality but instead one that embraces every facet of kind and cruel daily living. What would it be like to embrace every single event with a realistic awareness that each moment is a gift? Kate's process is contagious to the reader, forcing each one to ask similar questions and embrace limitless possibilities.
This is Charrie Hazard's first foray into a memoir-type fiction. Falling into the Sun: A Novel is a very auspicious beginning for this very talented, sensitive writer, one to watch closely in the future!
So very well done, Ms. Hazard! This story will etch itself in every reader's mind and soul for years to come, a reminder that life and death are so much more than human understanding conveys!
Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on June 21, 2009