Right from the very first moment I started reading The Seven Gifts Within Us, I felt a huge smile growing on my face, and it didn’t go away for the duration; this book is an utter delight. I was expecting a sermon about faith, but this isn’t that; it is so much more. It is a sermon of sorts, but far more universally applicable than to be simply applied to people of faith; all readers, if they are human, can take guidance from the overall message in this book. The seven gifts are revealed in short parables, set in a fairytale world, yet with very recognizable contemporary features of our own culture: rock bands; television shows; hospitals and computers.
The book opens with a brief prologue: the tale of a young girl, in awe of the wonder of life and its possibilities, who ultimately leads a very normal, disappointing life, in growing disillusionment, until it ends without notable achievement. Upon hearing this story, a young boy asks his friend, an angel, what is the point of her life, if it only brought her sadness, upon which the angel refers him to the seven short stories - heavy in metaphor - each the individual definition of a unique gift of nature, and an overarching message, which he needs to decipher from the tales. With the sixth gift story, the overall metaphor and moral starts to take shape, and the tales in this close yet distant world start to converge, revealing the links between them; the looming sense of full circle is indeed the very point of it all.
The Sailor is a tremendously creative and extremely high quality author, and his tales are wondrous and thoughtful. The fantastical world in which the stories take place is the stuff of childhood fairytales, yet the characters and the situations they find themselves in are pointedly close to those in our world. The intention is a clear one: to use dreamlike tales to reflect real life, and make us ponder over the best and worst we make of it. Ultimately, the author shows us that our little lives are mere specks of dust in the broader, grander picture, and that those things upon which we place such importance are ultimately wasted, unless we accept and enjoy them, in real time, for what they are. The book is beautifully written, in wonderful, simple yet perfect prose; every sentence is an individual work of art, The Sailor applying language in broad, consistently creative swathes – this is the fiction that, as writer, you wish you could write; the stories that parents wish they could make up for their kids. Yet, it is not unambiguously for kids or adults, but just right, generally and universally. Simply put, it is fun, interesting, eloquent, ultimately very satisfying, and I recommend it highly to all readers of all age groups.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: the-sailor fairytale fantasy spiritual short-stories