A linguist, a lake monster, and the looming shadow of death—news of an unknown creature in the New Bedford Lake coincides with news that Natalia’s cancer has returned.
On the shores of the lake in a strange house with many secret doors, Robert and his family must face the fact that Natalia is dying, and there is no hope this time. But they continue on; their son plays by the lakeside, Natalia paints, Robert writes, and all the while the air is thick with dust from a worldwide drought that threatens to come down and coat their little corner of green.
A lament for what is already lost and what is yet to be lost, Descriptions of Heaven leaves only one question to be asked: What’s next?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Excellent book full of lyricism and sadness. While slim it took me a bit to get through. I had to keep stopping to think about the sentences. So many deep and quotable lines. It's not religious, but rather agnostic in its POV. So Christian readers beware, it's not gonna leave a good taste in your mouth if your're not into questioning beliefs. Though I wouldn't say it's anti-religious either. It's more an exploration of grief in general and the worries that stem from that, no matter one's religion or lack thereof. The story is told by Robert, a linguist. While in his head (which is most of the book) you really get into a groove of lyrical rhythms. These are well-crafted sentences, made even more artful with the large, sometimes esoteric vocabulary of our linguist narrator. But that's okay. I think the words chosen were as much for the feel and sound as they were for the meaning. "Rests" from the musical language of the book came during briefer moments of conversation between Robert and members of his family or friends. These were useful, though I rather preferred being drawn through the progression of the linguist's thoughts. Overall an excellent book that transcends genre, feeling both literary and yet relatable to a much wider audience despite its use of wandering, lyrical sentences and an above-average vocab. I could see it being used in a college English lit class, but also in a "death and dying" class. I actually intend to use it in my own course on emerging contemporary authors. Usually I focus on more well-known authors, like Juont Diaz, Ben Lerner, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Roxane Gay, and Justin Torres, among others. But, Randal Eldon Greene, though not well-known yet, has written a work deserving to be taught alongside the writings of these other mostly young and successful authors.