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The Weight of Memory

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When Paul Elias receives a terminal diagnosis, he leaves his physician's office in a fog. Only one thing is clear to him: if he is going to die, he must find someone to watch over his granddaughter, Pearl, who has been in his charge since her drug-addicted father disappeared. Paul decides to take her back to Nysa--both the place where he grew up and the place where he lost When Paul Elias receives a terminal diagnosis, he leaves his physician's office in a fog. Only one thing is clear to him: if he is going to die, he must find someone to watch over his granddaughter, Pearl, who has been in his charge since her drug-addicted father disappeared. Paul decides to take her back to Nysa--both the place where he grew up and the place where he lost his beloved wife under strange circumstances forty years earlier. But when he picks up Pearl from school, the little girl already seems to know of his plans, claiming a woman told her. In Nysa, Paul reconnects with an old friend but is not prepared for the onslaught of memory. And when Pearl starts vanishing at night and returning with increasingly bizarre tales, Paul begins to question her sanity, his own views on death, and the nature of reality itself. In this suspenseful and introspective story from award-winning author Shawn Smucker, the past and the present mingle like opposing breezes, teasing out the truth about life, death, and sacrifice.


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When Paul Elias receives a terminal diagnosis, he leaves his physician's office in a fog. Only one thing is clear to him: if he is going to die, he must find someone to watch over his granddaughter, Pearl, who has been in his charge since her drug-addicted father disappeared. Paul decides to take her back to Nysa--both the place where he grew up and the place where he lost When Paul Elias receives a terminal diagnosis, he leaves his physician's office in a fog. Only one thing is clear to him: if he is going to die, he must find someone to watch over his granddaughter, Pearl, who has been in his charge since her drug-addicted father disappeared. Paul decides to take her back to Nysa--both the place where he grew up and the place where he lost his beloved wife under strange circumstances forty years earlier. But when he picks up Pearl from school, the little girl already seems to know of his plans, claiming a woman told her. In Nysa, Paul reconnects with an old friend but is not prepared for the onslaught of memory. And when Pearl starts vanishing at night and returning with increasingly bizarre tales, Paul begins to question her sanity, his own views on death, and the nature of reality itself. In this suspenseful and introspective story from award-winning author Shawn Smucker, the past and the present mingle like opposing breezes, teasing out the truth about life, death, and sacrifice.

30 review for The Weight of Memory

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Smucker

    Well, folks, here we go. So far, this is my favorite story that I've written. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Well, folks, here we go. So far, this is my favorite story that I've written. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susie Finkbeiner

    I've read each novel Shawn Smucker has written (so far) and this one (so far) is his best work. Evocative, symbolic, and page turning, this book is one to put on your pre-order list. I've read each novel Shawn Smucker has written (so far) and this one (so far) is his best work. Evocative, symbolic, and page turning, this book is one to put on your pre-order list.

  3. 4 out of 5

    K.J. Ramsey

    I should have known after reading one of Shawn Smucker’s books last year: by the time I reach about 30% of the way into his books, his words render my self-control useless. I am physically incapable of reading a Shawn Smucker book and not staying up into the wee hours to finish it. Sleep becomes simply unimportant next to seeing his stories unfold. The beauty, pacing, and pull of his words in The Weight of Memory glued the book to my hands until I reached the final page, spellbound by the story. I should have known after reading one of Shawn Smucker’s books last year: by the time I reach about 30% of the way into his books, his words render my self-control useless. I am physically incapable of reading a Shawn Smucker book and not staying up into the wee hours to finish it. Sleep becomes simply unimportant next to seeing his stories unfold. The beauty, pacing, and pull of his words in The Weight of Memory glued the book to my hands until I reached the final page, spellbound by the story. Sure, it was a late night, but I regret nothing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Green

    In one sense, I never know what to expect from a Shawn Smucker novel, and I actually love that. He bends and blends genres, and his stories require a willing suspension of disbelief. The story twists and goes places I can't predict. In another sense, I DO know what to expect from Shawn's writing, and that is never more evident than in The Weight of Memory. I read his work slowly, to savor. His characterizations are spare but deep. (How does he do this? Must study.) The writing is lyrical yet conc In one sense, I never know what to expect from a Shawn Smucker novel, and I actually love that. He bends and blends genres, and his stories require a willing suspension of disbelief. The story twists and goes places I can't predict. In another sense, I DO know what to expect from Shawn's writing, and that is never more evident than in The Weight of Memory. I read his work slowly, to savor. His characterizations are spare but deep. (How does he do this? Must study.) The writing is lyrical yet concise--poetic without being overwrought. The emotion is pure, raw, and contagious. Good grief, Shawn. Your love for your craft is obvious. Thank you for sharing it with us. P.S. This particular novel has a really interesting point of view which will remind you of Gilead by Marilynn Robinson if you've ever read that. So well done.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Peter Verhoeven

    Shawn delivers a hauntingly beautiful story that, as the title suggests, lingers in the mind long after it's been read. His prose (as usual) is superb, however the story itself, how the past and present are interwoven seamlessly, are what really stand out. The tension builds slowly at first, but then excels to a rapid pace in the latter half of the novel, leading to an emotional climax. Mystery unfolds as Paul's memories of the past intertwine and begin to clash with the present as he returns, de Shawn delivers a hauntingly beautiful story that, as the title suggests, lingers in the mind long after it's been read. His prose (as usual) is superb, however the story itself, how the past and present are interwoven seamlessly, are what really stand out. The tension builds slowly at first, but then excels to a rapid pace in the latter half of the novel, leading to an emotional climax. Mystery unfolds as Paul's memories of the past intertwine and begin to clash with the present as he returns, decades after having left, to his hometown of Nysa. Paul is dying, given "anytime to three months" to live and must find a new home for his granddaughter, Pearl. What unfolds when he bumps into a childhood friend will have readers flying through the pages, the pieces of a life-long puzzle coming together in a deeply satisfying way. Fans of Shawn's "Light From Distance Stars" will undoubtedly enjoy this novel. The somber yet hopeful tone, the themes of life and death, and the mystical elements, are prevalent in both. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It does well what I look for in great fiction: it tells a compelling, entertaining story, while at the same time is thought-provoking, subtly urging the reader to consider his own views on the themes presented within. Gripping, moving, and captivating, "The Weight of Memory" hits all the right notes, creating a symphony that resonates with the reader.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Janyre Tromp

    Shawn Smucker is one of the most evocative writers I’ve read. This story paints a breath-taking picture of the faithfulness of love and weight of our tragic memories . . . especially those we keep hidden away. Thank you to NetGalley and Revell for a free copy of the book in exchange for my review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Shawn Smucker has a way of gently leading readers down a path they might not want to go. His books often tackle weighty questions about death, the afterlife, and suffering, and The Weight of Memory is no different. I love Shawn's writing, and I struggled with this book. I read it slowly (for me) and was often reluctant to pick it up because I wasn't sure I wanted to go where he was leading me with the story. But the characters are compelling and the writing is almost poetic, and I wanted to know Shawn Smucker has a way of gently leading readers down a path they might not want to go. His books often tackle weighty questions about death, the afterlife, and suffering, and The Weight of Memory is no different. I love Shawn's writing, and I struggled with this book. I read it slowly (for me) and was often reluctant to pick it up because I wasn't sure I wanted to go where he was leading me with the story. But the characters are compelling and the writing is almost poetic, and I wanted to know what was going to happen to Paul and Pearl. It's a worthwhile read, but I think I'm missing something. I've never read any George MacDonald, and I wonder if reading some of his works would help me understand what happens in this book. Or maybe I'm just not in the right frame of mind for magical realism. I was almost disappointed that Paul's tumor is miraculously healed without explanation. I mean, I wanted him to live and be there for Pearl, but the resolution of that conflict was almost too easy (even though it nearly cost Pearl her life). And the ending made me feel like I'd missed something important earlier in the book. So, this is an honest mixed review. I have really enjoyed Shawn's previous books. I think this one just wasn't for me. But that doesn't mean other readers won't enjoy it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kailey

    Wow! I don’t even know how to describe this book! I was totally captivated by this story and couldn’t stop reading! Shawn Smucker’s writing style is like none other. This has to be my favorite of his books! I definitely recommend it! I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

    What a breathtaking book! I honestly feel like I barely breathed for the last half of the book, over the beauty and the fear and the hope. At the risk of giving away too much, this is a story of truth, memory, imagination, hope, and the places they mingle together...sometimes aligned and other times hauntingly at odds. In The Weight of Memory we find Smucker’s typical quietly beautiful prose, this time delivered in dual timelines (one past tense and one present tense, making the differentiation What a breathtaking book! I honestly feel like I barely breathed for the last half of the book, over the beauty and the fear and the hope. At the risk of giving away too much, this is a story of truth, memory, imagination, hope, and the places they mingle together...sometimes aligned and other times hauntingly at odds. In The Weight of Memory we find Smucker’s typical quietly beautiful prose, this time delivered in dual timelines (one past tense and one present tense, making the differentiation blessedly clear without the need for dates) across decades. We also find Smucker’s typical quiet calling to the reader to find their own place in the story. For long-time fans of Smucker’s fiction, you will notice similar themes of death and life to his previous books. The monsters this time might be different from what he’s written in the past, but honestly, Smucker might be at his very best (up until now anyway) here. Readers will be left with lines from the story to ponder and themes to turn over in their minds long after they read the final words.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Wow...I'm not quite sure how to describe this story and that's a compliment! It was a beautifully told story. Thanks to netgalley, the publisher, and author for the ARC. Wow...I'm not quite sure how to describe this story and that's a compliment! It was a beautifully told story. Thanks to netgalley, the publisher, and author for the ARC.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Sher

    Just WOW. This story kept me engaged and guessing from beginning to end, rooting for and empathizing with each character, and effective kept my belief suspended exactly when and where it needed to be to bring home its powerful message about the power of memory, regret, forgiveness, love, and the physical manifestations of our spiritual battles. Highly recommended!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rick Theule

    Shawn Smucker has once again written a page turning novel that has left me wanting more. 5-star worthy as entertainment and as thought provoking. Well done! (I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book.)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This is a lyrical, mystical book that follows the journey of terminally ill Paul and his grand-daughter Pearl back to his hometown. The book alternates between Paul's memories, and present day. Shawn Smucker skillfully blends the two time periods and the memories and unknown secrets that swirl around Paul and Pearl. This book is beautifully written, thought provoking, and full of hope, with characters that I will long remember. I just loved this book! I did receive a complimentary copy, and I am This is a lyrical, mystical book that follows the journey of terminally ill Paul and his grand-daughter Pearl back to his hometown. The book alternates between Paul's memories, and present day. Shawn Smucker skillfully blends the two time periods and the memories and unknown secrets that swirl around Paul and Pearl. This book is beautifully written, thought provoking, and full of hope, with characters that I will long remember. I just loved this book! I did receive a complimentary copy, and I am so glad I did.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nicole T.

    Once again (I've eagerly anticipated and read every Shawn Smucker book) Shawn delivers a hauntingly beautiful book. He weaves together a story of love and loss, regret and hope. The story will draw you in and you won't want to put the book down. The characters will linger with you after you have finished. Once again (I've eagerly anticipated and read every Shawn Smucker book) Shawn delivers a hauntingly beautiful book. He weaves together a story of love and loss, regret and hope. The story will draw you in and you won't want to put the book down. The characters will linger with you after you have finished.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I love Shawn’s books. He crafts exquisite stories that keep me guessing from start to finish. The Weight of Memory did not disappoint! It is haunting and intimate, dark and hopeful, all at the same time. I highly recommend it to everyone!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Wolfe

    When I read books this complex and rich, I try to remember the scene in which I think I have it all figured out. I read it over, more slowly, searching each word and phrase for clues and evidence. Sometimes I’m right – or at least close. With Shawn’s books? Never. Not one single detail that I so cleverly predicted was accurate. What a gift to read something so compelling and challenging with an ending so much better than I could have ever imagined… Don’t miss “The Weight of Memory.”

  17. 4 out of 5

    J. Bill

    I finished this new novel last night. I savored it every step of the way and found it a rich and rewarding read. Smucker is masterful story-teller and writer. I must admit, I was afraid that the ending would be too "neat." It wasn't. That delighted me -- it felt just right! I finished this new novel last night. I savored it every step of the way and found it a rich and rewarding read. Smucker is masterful story-teller and writer. I must admit, I was afraid that the ending would be too "neat." It wasn't. That delighted me -- it felt just right!

  18. 4 out of 5

    April Kolman

    I couldn’t put this book down. From the first page, I was completely hooked, and it wasn’t long before I was invested in the lives of Paul and Pearl. Shawn Smucker has crafted a beautiful and haunting story, with lines and passages I found myself rereading to soak them up. The way he paints loss, grief, and hope had me turning each page wanting more.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Scott County Library System

    This review by Librarian Christine Barth first appeared in the May 2021 issue of Library Journal. Paul Elias has maybe three months, maybe a few days, to live, and he doesn't know what to do with Pearl, his ward and granddaughter who is precocious but a bit of a handful. In a spur-of-the moment decision, Paul takes Pearl out of school, and they drive back to Nysa, a remote (fictitious) peninsula community that Paul hasn't visited since his wife drowned near its shores decades ago. Upon reaching Ny This review by Librarian Christine Barth first appeared in the May 2021 issue of Library Journal. Paul Elias has maybe three months, maybe a few days, to live, and he doesn't know what to do with Pearl, his ward and granddaughter who is precocious but a bit of a handful. In a spur-of-the moment decision, Paul takes Pearl out of school, and they drive back to Nysa, a remote (fictitious) peninsula community that Paul hasn't visited since his wife drowned near its shores decades ago. Upon reaching Nysa, Paul is met with hostility rather than the help he needs. Pearl begins having strange visions of a woman with white hair, who asks her to complete dangerous tasks. Paul is reminded of the summer when he met his wife, when a creepy stranger appeared in Nysa and altered the course of multiple lives. Secrets abound in Nysa, and Paul wonders if Pearl's imagination is actually a window to another realm. VERDICT: Smucker (These Nameless Things) crafts beautiful sentences and haunting characters that immerse readers in a world where anything is possible but not everything is real. Recommended for fans of Ted Dekker or Tosca Lee.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paula Alvelo

    The biggest, and the rarest, compliment I can give a book is “I can’t stop reading until the end of this chapter.” Repeat as needed. This book breaks my heart in every good way. Secrets are so heavy. Kick free and live well.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Higgins

    Smucker’s best story yet! Paul Elias has just received a terminal diagnosis of cancer and has been given months to live. He can accept that it is his time to die, but he can’t accept that he doesn’t have alternate arrangements for someone to take care of his granddaughter, Pearl. Pearl’s dad, Paul’s son John, is not in the picture and frankly, Paul is not sure where to even start. When he picks up Pearl from school, she seems to have already devised a plan and tells him that they will be taking a Smucker’s best story yet! Paul Elias has just received a terminal diagnosis of cancer and has been given months to live. He can accept that it is his time to die, but he can’t accept that he doesn’t have alternate arrangements for someone to take care of his granddaughter, Pearl. Pearl’s dad, Paul’s son John, is not in the picture and frankly, Paul is not sure where to even start. When he picks up Pearl from school, she seems to have already devised a plan and tells him that they will be taking a trip back to Paul’s hometown of Nysa, where he hasn’t been or spoken about since the drowning death of his wife 40 years ago. Once in Nysa, Paul gets reacquainted with an old friend and finds that the town is nothing like he remembered. The longer they stay in Nysa, the more Pearl starts to act like her grandmother, causing Paul to question her sanity as well as everything he knows. Perhaps this wasn’t the best place to come. Having read all of Shawn Smucker’s books, I can easily say that this is the best one! The story is very introspective and will have readers questioning things throughout the entire story. Told from Paul’s point of view, readers pick up when Paul is in his upper 50s and are introduced to Paul’s world as it is today. At the beginning, parts of the story seem disorganized and the flow doesn’t necessarily follow any particular format but hang on because everything will be revealed through memories. As readers push forward, they will notice many parallels between the past and present, most notably between Pearl and her grandmother, Mary. There is quite a bit of supernatural elements throughout that aren’t necessarily explained, but it makes the story more suspenseful and will keep readers turning the pages. I found it difficult to put down the book after each chapter because I wanted to find out what happens next. The ending is quite subjective and likely some readers won’t enjoy it, but there is ray of sunlight that shines some hope. I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paula Shreckhise

    I have been curious about what kind of book Shawn Smucker writes. This is the first of his books that I have read. It was an interesting premise of an ailing grandfather and his precocious granddaughter taking a trip to Grampy’s home town, a remote place. It is told in first person as if the grandfather is telling a story to his granddaughter Pearl. “I realize memories are heavy things , heavier still when we don’t let them go.” The descriptions are top notch and put me right there in the pages. I have been curious about what kind of book Shawn Smucker writes. This is the first of his books that I have read. It was an interesting premise of an ailing grandfather and his precocious granddaughter taking a trip to Grampy’s home town, a remote place. It is told in first person as if the grandfather is telling a story to his granddaughter Pearl. “I realize memories are heavy things , heavier still when we don’t let them go.” The descriptions are top notch and put me right there in the pages. It kept me reading to see what happened next. But in the end, it fell short for me. I was expecting a clear Christian message. Other than the scene where the characters go to a church and take communion without knowing what it means and one trying to explain the doxology, there was nothing concrete or clear. I liked the varying lengths of the chapters , but did not like the way it jumped forward and backward without a clear indicator. A good ghost story? Yes! Great writing? Yes! A Christian allegory. Sadly No! Will I read more by this author? Probably but not soon. *A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Revell through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

  23. 5 out of 5

    Imogen Elizabeth

    Utterly absorbing and quite unlike anything I’ve read before. Lyrical, at times haunting and unsettling, ultimately beautiful and life-affirming. The story of a grandfather and his young granddaughter confronting and coming to terms with loss, grief, guilt, the passing of time, and the way in which memory and perception are slippery, changeable things. Reality tilts and shifts and resettles with every page, mystery and metaphor woven throughout the masterfully handled dual timeline. I’m not enti Utterly absorbing and quite unlike anything I’ve read before. Lyrical, at times haunting and unsettling, ultimately beautiful and life-affirming. The story of a grandfather and his young granddaughter confronting and coming to terms with loss, grief, guilt, the passing of time, and the way in which memory and perception are slippery, changeable things. Reality tilts and shifts and resettles with every page, mystery and metaphor woven throughout the masterfully handled dual timeline. I’m not entirely sure what to make of the ending, or the middle, or the beginning, which is a good thing. Shawn Smucker gifts us questions to sit with, scenes to explore and re-examine through the new lens of a book read cover to cover.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    In traditional Shawn style, this book grips you from the start and does not let you go. It has been a really long time since I fell into a book. I asked my husband, "Is it that I am not in a reading season, or am I reading the wrong books?" I consumed this book. Don't call me for dinner, I don't care that it's time for bed, leave me alone until I am able to fully take in this story and process it. The story opens with Paul Elias receiving a terminal diagnosis. He decides to take this granddaught In traditional Shawn style, this book grips you from the start and does not let you go. It has been a really long time since I fell into a book. I asked my husband, "Is it that I am not in a reading season, or am I reading the wrong books?" I consumed this book. Don't call me for dinner, I don't care that it's time for bed, leave me alone until I am able to fully take in this story and process it. The story opens with Paul Elias receiving a terminal diagnosis. He decides to take this granddaughter, Pearl, back to where he grew up. Paul is Pearl's caregiver and the only adult in her life. He hopes by taking her to the place he remembers so fondly he can find someone to take care of her after he dies. But all is not as Paul remembers and arriving in town he is forced to confront what has changed and the memories of his wife who drowned in the lake forty years before. When Pearl starts disappearing and speaking about a woman who also haunted his wife, Paul begins to realize there is more to things than he ever imagined. Someone said this book is like waking through a dream… That is the best way I can describe it. One where you want to stay and look around, where you are curious about what comes next, where there is a plot propelling you forward to keep searching, keep reading, keep pursuing. I am a huge fan of Shawn's work and this book again manages to ask questions around an issue we are uncomfortable with (death, our mortality, etc.) in a way that makes it accessible and easy to wrestle with. This is a book you fall into and enjoy the opportunity to swim around and get immersed in. Here's to a writer that does not shy away from hard questions and keeps you hooked from beginning to end.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Skylerhayes

    I don’t know what to make of this book. I recommend it just so you can feel the unease of it. It’s a shadowy book, murky. Nothing is clear. I think this is a great read for winter, but I read it in summer. The ending is open to interpretation- but honestly everything in the book is open to that. Nothing felt solid, real, pinpointed. In that respect, it was clever and well done. On the other hand, I felt like I was excessively flailing.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I have never read anything by this author before and have heard a lot about him. This was a very interesting book. I really enjoyed the idea of it. It was a little bit deeper than I enjoy while reading fiction. Thanks so much to netgalley and the publisher for the arc. The opinions are my own.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gina Dalfonzo

    Full review here: https://dearstrangethings.substack.co... Full review here: https://dearstrangethings.substack.co...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Josh Olds

    There is nobody else in Christian fiction who writes the kind of stories Shawn Smucker is writing. Shawn’s stories are ethereal, evocative, full of symbolism and magical realism. The narrative isn’t always straightforward. Not everything is explained or resolved. It’s more literary than most Christian fiction tends to be and is more focused on tone and feeling over narrative and action. The end result is that his books—including The Weight of Memory—aren’t for every type of reader. Be aware of w There is nobody else in Christian fiction who writes the kind of stories Shawn Smucker is writing. Shawn’s stories are ethereal, evocative, full of symbolism and magical realism. The narrative isn’t always straightforward. Not everything is explained or resolved. It’s more literary than most Christian fiction tends to be and is more focused on tone and feeling over narrative and action. The end result is that his books—including The Weight of Memory—aren’t for every type of reader. Be aware of what you’re getting into when you crack open one of his books. It’s an experience that you’re not likely to get with many other Christian authors today. The Weight of Memory is the story of Paul and Pearl. Paul has just been given a terminal diagnosis of some form of cancer—brain cancer, perhaps, as its presence is symbolized by a knot growing just above Paul’s ear. Paul can accept his fate, but isn’t sure what to do with his granddaughter, Pearl. Pearl is a flighty child: ephemeral, naïve, and restless. She fits the trope of the innocent child who is simultaneously wise beyond her years and clueless about simple things. With only months left to live, Paul decides to return to his hometown—a place he’s not been since the death of his wife decades earlier. He’s not sure what he’s seeking. Ostensibly, someone to care for Pearl. But what he returns to is much more than that and takes him on a journey of processing and living with long-held grief. Not everything makes sense in The Weight of Memory and that’s because Smucker’s writing is meant to be symbolic more than real. If something in the book doesn’t seem to have any logical connection, you can be sure that Smucker has a literary purpose that will eventually be revealed. The book moves in and out of this loose grasp of reality, making the mystery that much more difficult to pin down. Smucker also introduces a past plot, detailing a summer with Paul, his wife, and their friends. You begin to see several parallels between Paul’s wife and Pearl, along with gaining a greater understanding of Paul’s unaddressed pain. In my review of These Nameless Things, I wrote that the one thing Smucker needed was a flashback perspective to round the storyline out. He listened and the result is a much deeper story that’s more easily understood. The Weight of Memory is written from Paul’s perspective toward Pearl. It’s an ingenious method of involving the reader in the story, putting us directly in Pearl’s shoes as Paul recounts events that happened to Pearl in the second-person. There’s something enrapturing about a good second-person perspective. Smucker’s skills continue to improve as he refines his literary voice and grows comfortable in the mostly barren niche he’s created for himself in Christian fiction. Whether you already love magical realism or just in the market for something a bit different, The Weight of Memory is an excellent choice. With rich symbolism and a well-realized atmosphere, The Weight of Memory is a thoughtful, poignant offering. Smucker’s best to date.

  29. 4 out of 5

    MJSH

    "We can never trust ourselves, never know our true motives. There is always something deeper at work, something unseen pulling us along to hidden ends. We paddle where we think we want to go, but all along it's the hidden current that takes us." It's another lyrical and beautifully written novel by Shawn Smucker that addresses the everyday battle with grief and regret seeped in the past with its memories and fear of the unknown when facing our mortality in an unusual and memorable writing style. "We can never trust ourselves, never know our true motives. There is always something deeper at work, something unseen pulling us along to hidden ends. We paddle where we think we want to go, but all along it's the hidden current that takes us." It's another lyrical and beautifully written novel by Shawn Smucker that addresses the everyday battle with grief and regret seeped in the past with its memories and fear of the unknown when facing our mortality in an unusual and memorable writing style. You cannot read this book in a rush, for every word penned is important and builds on each other to create the author's own brand of nostalgic and mysterious poetry, edged with suspense and sprinkled with hope. Truly the plot took me by surprise because I could not predict what will happen next. The first person narrative from Paul is raw and heart-wrenching as he tells the story in present tense like he's speaking to his grand-daughter. The flashbacks, still in Paul's voice, help to build his past in his hometown of Nysa without interrupting his narrative. This book is incredibly thought-provoking and will stay with you long after you've put the book down. I received the book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are solely my own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Shea

    Hauntingly beautiful. This page turner will move your heart and you’ll find yourself mesmerized by Smucker’s unique and beguiling characters in a story that will follow you long after you finish the last page. It plays with time and memory and helps us to value the relationships that shaped us, both family and friends and it entices us to see the world afresh, too. I have long admired Shawn’s way with words and appreciate both his fiction and his nonfiction but this novel is by far my favorite. T Hauntingly beautiful. This page turner will move your heart and you’ll find yourself mesmerized by Smucker’s unique and beguiling characters in a story that will follow you long after you finish the last page. It plays with time and memory and helps us to value the relationships that shaped us, both family and friends and it entices us to see the world afresh, too. I have long admired Shawn’s way with words and appreciate both his fiction and his nonfiction but this novel is by far my favorite. The structure, style, and carefully crafted descriptions are the marks of a talented wordsmith. This is one work I will be recommending a lot. It reminds me of A Wrinkle in Time and a Frank Perretti novel with a trademark Smucker twist! So, so good.

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