Many of us imagine death as the light at the end of the tunnel. What is this light? The light of the heavenly garden high above the clouds? Or the light of the flames burning in hell? Maybe. Or what if that light, is the first light we see coming out of the whoom, as the start of a new life?
What happens after death? I guess we only have one way to find out, but till then, we have to imagine.
Alice Sebold has found a way to describe her fantasies about life after death in the bestseller The Lovely Bones.
“My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered.”
It was december 6th, 1973, when Susie took a walk home through the cornfields when she came across their neighbor Mr. Harvey. He wanted to show Susie something under the cornfields. He took her to his self built bunker, that’s where he raped, murdered, and chopped Susie’s body. It was cold, it was dark. Life has left Susie as her spirit takes off. A girl, named Ruth, felt a chill the moment Susie left earth. Ruth was the last person Susie touched when her spirit left earth, this particular event gave a twist in Ruth’s life which will keep Susie’s spirit alive among the living.
The book is about the afterlife. It takes you on an emotional trip through the effects of the death of a young girl. It’s about her absence and her presence on earth described in a beautiful story about love, hate and injustice.
“Inside the snow globe on my father’s desk, there was a penguin wearing a red-and-white-striped scarf. When I was little my father would pull me into his lap and reach for the snow globe. He would turn it over, letting all the snow collect on the top, then quickly invert it. The two of us watched the snow fall gently around the penguin. The penguin was alone in there, I thought, and I worried for him. When I told my father this, he said, “Don’t worry, Susie; he has a nice life. He’s trapped in a perfect world.”
From her perfect world Susie looked down on the earth she had once left, the book describes, the struggles of the family and friends suffering through mourning. It’s written in such a fine way, I think it reflects on how the reader or maybe the writer should deal with the loss of loved ones.
In the book you can feel that the family is having a hard time dealing with the death of Susie. Her father, Jack, won’t give up the search for her murderer even if his wife leaves him for that as his other two children are having a hard time growing up because of this. From her little heaven she also looks over her lover, named Ray. Somehow he’s able to stay in love with the girl who has been dead for years.
The story covers over eight years since Susie’s death, taking you on a breath taking experience till the final page.
Alice Sebold describes the meaning of death and mourning in a way we can not define, therefor, we must imagine. In 2009 top director Peter Jackson took a step towards imagination in the film version of The Lovely Bones. With great visuals and heavenly landscapes I think it’s quite a good comparison with my own imaginations. But story wise, the book’s a lot deeper and nicer to dive in.