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Finding a Way : Diane Simmons

Finding a Way : Diane Simmons


Even though I had heard several extracts from Diane Simmons Finding a Way and both enjoyed and admired them, I was still hesitant to embark on the book as a whole. Flash fiction is an intense affair at the best of times and the prospect of a whole collection about grief did feel daunting. We have all taken journeys of this kind and although we go back there from time to time, we might not want to follow in another’s footsteps. So having intended only to ‘dip in’ I was surprised to find I read it from start to finish in the space of a few days and found it rewarding as well as profoundly moving.

In this collection four characters are given a voice – mother father brother and husband of the girl who died. While empathising most with the mother’s situation (so many casual cruelties inflicted by both well-meaning and thoughtless friends) I found the teenage brother’s story particularly touching in the rawness of its anguish and his inability to process what had happened. Eventually of course there is laughter as well as anger and sorrow, because that’s what happens and Diane Simmons tells it how it is. Most of all, the use of multiple viewpoints avoid any sense of untrammelled emotion and build up a picture not just of fractured lives but of the girl who connected them. The story as a whole is harrowing but the end result is a triumph for the power of storytelling in this most concise of genres. For me Finding a Way succeeds in celebrating a life as well as a reflecting on its loss.
Date Added: 02/19/2019 by Ali B.
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