The author offers this synopsis of the book:
The Opening addresses the age-old question 'what happens when we die?' with a spiritual fantasy of immense charm and imagination. At once an insightful meditation on life’s passages and a vision of unearthly realms, it creates its own enchanted worlds where characters connect with one another between here and the hereafter across the thinnest of lines.Joe St. John is dying in an ice cave. As he slowly fades away, his past comes to haunt him.
Joe St. John wanders out into a blizzard and falls through an opening that leads him to amazing, sometimes harrowing places where he encounters the major turning points in his life. Along the way, he revisits his missed opportunities, uncovers his life’s core trauma, and is given mysterious geometrical symbols that hold the key to his future.
As Joe's soul hovers between two worlds he will discover the truth about life and death, and be confronted with the ultimate choice: save his own life, or give it up for someone he loves.
A sparkling, hallucinatory, fast-paced read with unexpected twists of plot, imbued with a childlike sense of wonder. You’ll love floating in the book’s magical dreamscape, and may find yourself wanting to read it again and again to uncover its mystical insights and layers of meaning.
I think this story is as much as about the main character, Joe St. John's, decisions as it is about the character's cousin, Albert. I made the mistake of ignoring Albert. It was easy to do. Albert is portrayed as someone to be ignored. I read the book and was intrigued by a laundry list of missed opportunities by Joe through out his life. Joe made a lot of bad decisions like we all have but Joe is afforded an opportunity to look back and see the weight of his words and choices.
Through Joe reflections we see Albert there, woven in like a thread in a seemingly random fashion. It's not. Savarese constructed a tale with purpose and forethought. The character, Joe, is bombarded with regret and remorse until the final pages where he seeks the ultimate redemption. Lo and behold, Albert returns to the story and ties the entire reason for Joe's trip into the past into a perfect, neat and beautiful bow and presented to me for my approval. Approve, I do. My mind was blown.
I really liked this book. I liked how every word had value and was wonderfully cashed in at the very end as beautiful literary treasure.
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