The Woman Behind The Waterfall
The Woman Behind The Waterfall by Leonora Meriel is a familiar tale, yet unusual. Beautiful, yet complicated, just like life. It is emotionally touching, yet bittersweet. Two years down the lane, you might not remember most of the story. Only the raw feeling you felt while reading the book would remain. It is a powerful tale told with a subtle complexity.
Story In Brief
The story is about three generations - daughter, mother and grandmother. Each worrying about the other. Longing to see another safe and happy. Someone has said so correctly, parents dies, but never leave their children. They empty themselves in them. A part of them always watches their backs.
Angela, the daughter loves her mother a lot. It is heartbreaking for her to see her mother Lyuda sad and crying. Grandmother Zoryana has died. But her spirit always worries about the well being of Lyuda and Angela. How Angela with the help of her grandmother's guidance helps Lyuda to overcome her depression forms the major crust of the story.
Angela was blessed with some powers. Her spirit can enter another body. She can see and speak to spirits. This is how she met her grandmother who told her the reason behind her mother's sadness.
Emotions On High Tide
Every parent will identify and understand, sympathize and empathize, relate and nostalgic by the troubles and trauma of Lyuda as a single parent. She lost her mother, her only support and a husband who ditched her midway. I felt like hugging Lyuda tightly and saying, " hold on woman, it is just a bad phase will pass away.''
Angela seems to say the same thing. She takes many bold decisions to make her mother's life a little easier. But things never turn out as expected. As other choices and decisions also matters.
The story is intense and heartfelt. The emotional turmoil of the characters will rock you. Tear your heart into pieces. And when characters were happy your heart would dance at the tune. It is these feelings you would hold long after completing the novel.
The author Leonora Meriel is a meticulous writer. She has a keen eye for details. As a consequence, every scene and emotion are so vivid and true as of witnessing them with physical presence and naked eyes. I can actually feel the flowers, smell the soil, flow with the river, fly up in the sky.
There were many scintillating scenes in the story. They took me by surprise. I can't help, but admire the author's imagination and awareness. A scene where Angela experiences death. I read it with wide eyes. Similarly, when scenes described from the perspective of non human like a bird. The details observed and grasped by a bird will be different from the human. The author nailed it with elance.
It also had a flip side. The scenes became complicated to understand. This severely hampered the flow of the story. I remained confused as these details didn't carry forward the story. They were like decorative symbols around the real story.
Too much about details in building up scenes slowed down the pace of the novel. First part of the novel moved at a snail's pace. It was slow, but beautifully written. The author's writing was artistic and lyrical. Almost music to ears.
I don't know if the fantasy part of the book was the work of the author's imagination or inspired by some folk tales. I missed the details. Some more details about Angela power, cutting of rope, deleting memories, alternative life could have been helpful for the sake of better grasping.
The book is not an easy read, especially for beginners. You can say it is written in fragmentary narrative style. The main story of Lyuda remains hidden in layers revealing only in bits and pieces. The perspective keeps changing and time period moving back and forth. So you need to have loads of patience and understanding as a reader to fully enjoy this book.
For me it was a heavy read. It was like an overstuffed cheesy sandwich with many flavors. While chewing it felt all the flavours didn’t blend together. Cohesiveness was lacking. But the real fun was the after taste.
“I want to disappear into the dough of your body, pushing myself back in, you would roll and knead me into yourself and I would be safe forever”