Someone You Love is Gone

I usually take better notes. Or at least take pictures of the bits of a book I want to make notes on, so I don’t forget what I thought or felt later.

I failed, utterly, while reading Someone You Love is Gone by Gurjinder Basran. There was too much to absorb.

The only thing I wrote down was about main character Simran, thinking about her child who was born dead.

“Yet sometimes at night or just before dawn, I wonder if that baby died at all or if it crawled into my chest and ate my heart, tore it into small pieces and, over the past twenty-four years, tore it into small pieces and replaced it with its dead body. A baby for a heart, curled into a fetal position, sucking its thumb, cold as stone.”

Basran’s whole book is like this: filled with beautiful writing to describe terrible sadnesses and losses. Of which there are many, involving Simran’s whole family. At the start of the book, Simran’s mother has just died. Simran is grieved about this, and her troubled marriage (because that’s a popular topic) and her hostile relationship with her sister and her daughter. The family is preparing for the funeral. The novel also tells Simran’s mother’s story from 1961 onwards. The family has a secret, buried in time and forgetfulness. But it all roots back to Simran’s childhood when her brother was sent away by her father and mother.

Although not a ghost story the way you might think, there are ghosts. Definite hauntings. And Someone You Love is Gone is definitely haunting.

Gurjinder Basran was at Events 66 (Portrait of a Marriage) and 80 (Ghosts and Spirits) at the 2017 Vancouver Writers Festival.

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