The fragility of life
How easy it is for worlds to be destroyed in seconds, for lives to be forever changed by seemingly small decisions, for people to mark their time in befores and afters.
And so "An Accidental Light" by Elizabeth Diamond (ISBN 9781590513019) was a natural pick.
The novel opens with Jack Philips, a police officer on his way home one early November evening. A young girl darts in front of his car and does not survive.
He is not charged with a crime. But how can he move forward? In actuality, the tragedy forces him to deal with events in his past.
In that split second so many lives are forever changed: the girl, her parents, Phillips, his wife, his children. The ripples are far-reaching.
The mother's grief is palpable: "I would have given anything not to drive by this place where it happened. I would wonder, if I stopped the car and got out and walked over towards the middle of the road and peered down closely, would I still see a stain of blood? ... Would I have knelt down on the road and touched with my fingers that faint bloodstain where my daughter had lain dying?"
Philips' guilt and depression: "Things like that happen to people every day. A life gets ripped apart, gets thrown away. You think you're on one path, and then you're on another. You're lost. You may never find your way again."
Diamond's debut novel leaves you reflecting on how easily everything you value can be taken away.
And, I hope, with a renewed appreciation of those things as well.
- Tricia Ambrose