In case the sudden descent of spring upon the country has raised your spirits too high, today I bring you a brief review of Singing Boy by Dennis McFarland; a tale of such crushing misery that not even the longer, sunny days could cheer me as I read it!
Playing to his skills, McFarland’s Singing Boy is another insight into the emotional turmoil of the survivors of tragedy; in this case the death of a loved one, which occurs in the very first chapter of the book! As Malcolm and Sarah Vaughn wait at the traffic lights with their young son Harry, they notice the car in front fails to move, despite two green lights. Concerned for the wellbeing of the driver, Malcolm goes to check the car, but is gunned down – seemingly at random!
So begin three individual, yet related stories of coping with Malcolm’s death; Sarah’s struggle to cope with being left alone, Harry’s traumatic nightmares that continue to haunt him during the day and the equally harrowing experiences of Malcolm’s best friend, Deckard, who returns to Vietnam to deal with his loss by surrounding himself with death. Although a little over the top – Deckard in particular – McFarland’s tales are skillfully told and certainly tug at the heartstrings. Possibly not light bedtime reading, but certainly worth a look.