Review: Dismantle the Sun is “Wrenching”

I certainly hope so. (From Dactyl Review)

Dismantle the Sun (Booktrope, 324 pages) is literary, but if you are looking for a novel of bright sunshine, lollipops along with skittles and beer, this is not the book for you. It reeks pathos; “wrenches” is the term used on the back cover of the book, and the work lives up to that term. It is an uncomfortable read because you are being dragged into the intimate, excruciating dynamics of a couple where the wife is dying and the husband is struggling with that reality.

There is old legislative saying that funding senior citizen center is hard because no one voting believes they’ll ever use it. Speaking of death is in much the same vein. It is something that happens to other people. Reading about death becomes more uncomfortable the older you get. Death in your 80s is to be expected. But in Dismantle the Sun, death is coming at an early age and in a loving family. Worse, it is a festering death, a prolonged agony which is just as hard on the dying as on the living. Actually, it is harder on the living because the living suddenly – as the book poignantly charts – have three lives: their workaday lives, with which the spouse had no connection, their days coping with an ending over which they have no control, and struggling to reorient themselves to the inevitable reality that they will have to move on alone.

“Wrenching” is indeed the word to use to describe this world and Dismantle the Sun is a good title for the work. But it is very well written.

Steven C. Levi, author of How Nags Head lost its Apostrophe, 2011

I’ll take “wrenching”, especially when combined with “poignantly” and “well written”, but I can be a twisted (and self-serving) little cruller. What do you think?

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