“Tapestry” is not a word I trust in a book blurb, no matter who has written it. Yet, 336 pages later and a month of carrying the book around every day, I have to concede—Dear Edward is a most fascinating tapestry of a book.
My distrust in the word lies simply in that it tells you nothing specific about the book–hell, Life is a tapestry, the Universe is one, a mixed bag if you will. But what I have neglected is that a tapestry is what holds together, and what holds very well usually. It has to be larger than the sum of its individual parts. Otherwise, “mess” is a much simpler word.
And there are parts indeed. Many. The narrative is mainly divided into Edward’s in the present; and many others in the past — in fact the whole crew of characters on a flight: a tycoon with cancer, an injured returning soldier, a woman who believes she has lived thousands of lives, a smoking hot Chief Air Stewardess, Edward’s parents and his brother Jordan—except for Edward, the flight turns out to be their last — the plane crashed and Edward becomes the sole survivor, The Miracle Boy.
The real magic is how Anna Napolitano manages to craft the cast of characters’ rich inner lives and then hold them together. Her nuanced and sympathetic writing reveals the mundane and the subtlety of our characters’ hope and fear, their joy and struggles. The ultimate tapestry that is the matter of the human heart, whether of Edward’s—-Eddie’s—or of Shay’s, of Benjamin’s or of Linda’s, whether it’s in two paragraphs or three pages, make it almost impossible not to care about –to truly feel for them–these oh-so-human characters.
Dear Edward is not your fast-paced Summer Read you consumed in a day or two—I read it in about a month’s time since I received the ARC from Penguin Random House (many thanks) and have read other books in between. It is also not a plot-driven novel—not much “action” in the whole book minus the crash. But it is one, thanks to the wonderfully humane characters and the beautiful and enjoyable writing, that has won a place in my book bag for the whole month and a very special place in my heart. Can’t wait for this to be published in January 2020 in its entirety!