Mesmerizing | BookishFirst


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Shawn Smucker's Light from Distant Stars is an inspiring tale that interweaves the past and present masterfully. We follow Cohen Marek, who as a child, witnessed his father have an affair. This event changed his outlook on life and took him into a deluded state. The novel glides slowly, so it is easy to get lost and feel dragged along by Smucker's delectable language. A line that sums up Cohen and his father's relationship: "But in the silence, he also felt like they were moving further and further apart" (pg. 203).
So, in present time, Cohen's father is dying in a hospital. Cohen and his pregnant sister, Kaye, are staying day and night at his bedside hoping for him to get better. Cohen, however, feels that he is to be blamed for his father dying. So, he begins to remember his past and the accident of letting his father's affair become public, resulting in his parents' split.
Yet, Cohen feels the need to make nightly confessions to a priest, laying more and more of his sins each night that he feels are his fault. Once his father dies, Cohen understands that he had no fault in his father's death because in this time he was focusing on all the bad his father has done, but none of the good. Cohen felt guilty for ruining his parent's lives but realized that his father was only human-just like him. The arc of Cohen ended nicely by the end of the story and I enjoyed the culmination of the entire plot. Excellent work by Shawn Smucker.