I read Certainty for my 2018 Reading Challenge in the category of "A book with a one word title." It is also a book in the Ottawa Public Library's evening book club (Rideau- April, 2018). I had heard a lot about Do Not Say We Have Nothing, so I had high expectations. I couldn't connect with the characters or the morose ending.
There are as many ways to grieve as there are ways to love and to lose someone. This story dips into lives starting in Japanese occupied Borneo, through modern day Vancouver and Friesland, the Netherlands, illuminating a little bit of the story with each shift in perspective. The author wove medicine, history, cryptography, and radio into the narrative seamlessly, as if these areas of specialty were within her ordinary body of knowledge.
I read this book as part of the UBC Alumni Association's book club and was really excited to read something from a local author. Unfortunately, the book fell flat. I think it tried to be profound but failed.
There is no certainty in this life; whether in times of war or in times of peace. Young Matthew finds his world turned upside down when his father is killed during the brutal occupation of Indonesia during WWII and then again years later in Vancouver when his own daughter dies unexpectedly. The story moves back and forth in time between the two generations through the eyes of the father, daughter and those they love. A haunting and poetic debut novel from the Canadian award winning author of Simple Recipes.
When I began this novel I couldn't help thinking "pretentious" but I soon changed that thought to "profound." Brilliant also comes to mind. An absolute jewel of a novel - perfect for book clubs too.
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