From the author of the international number one bestseller I Know This Much is True comes a magnificent novel which explores the consequence of violent events, and the chaos that ensues, for human lives blown irrevocably of course Caelum Quirk and his wife Maureen move to Colorado and find jobs at Columbine High School. One day in April 1999, when Caelum is called away by a family emergency, Maureen cowers in a cupboard in the school library, hiding from two students on a murderous rampage. Though miraculously she survives, Maureen cannot recover from the trauma. Seeking solace, the couple returns to Connecticut to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family farm. As Maureen fights to regain her sanity, Caelum discovers a cache of forgotten memorabilia spanning five generations of his family. As he painstakingly reconstructs the lives of his ancestors, he must confront their secrets and fashion a future from the ashes of his own tragedy. His personal quest for meaning becomes a mythic journey that is both contemporary and quintessentially American.
This is the first book of Lamb’s that I’ve read and I was gripped from the very beginning. I’ll definitely be looking out for more by him. I loved the way he mixed fiction with non-fiction, without trivialising the awful events that took place during the high school massacre. He explores so many topics; war, slavery, spiritualism and family history, yet it all melds together into a compelling journey of one family and their struggle to make sense of this world and their lives. The massacre does form the main basis of this novel, but it’s so much more too. We hear about the effects it has on everyone involved, even those who seem to have been on the sidelines of the tragedy. I found this book to be heartbreaking; it made me laugh, cry and cringe in horror, yet Lamb still managed to maintain a sense of hope for our futures. The message is that we must work together to prevent tragedies like this happening again. In fact, at the back of Lamb’s book are links to several charities that are working towards these very aims.