UNSAID: a poignant, inspiring novel of loss, love and animals

Posted: March 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

If I were to name two things that have defined me ever since the early days of my childhood, I would not hesitate. My lifelong fascination with books and my love for animals. These are the aspects of my personality that, along with my faith in God, have had the longest tenure as defining traits.

Obviously, since my love of books and animals is equally great, some of my favorite books of all time prominently feature animal characters. From “Black Beauty” to “White Fang”, such books have been my trusted companions over the years.

I have always believed in the power that animals have. There’s something about them that escapes an exact, somewhat limiting, I should say, human definition, but what is certain about that “something” is the fact that it ends up enriching the lives of both animals and humans. Whenever a particularly shy, or, on the contrary, strong-looking dog, approaches me with all the gentleness he/she can muster, I strongly believe that it does so not only on account of feeling my love for him/her, but also because he/she feels my Cerebral Palsy. The interconnected nature of mankind and animals has been a part of my life for a long time, but it’s one subject I’m particularly fond of reading stories about. And I probably just had the wonderful opportunity to read the most emotional novel ever written on this topic.

The novel is titled UNSAID, and written by Neil Abramson. As a disclaimer, though I wholeheartedly thank the author for the signed copy he sent me, the views expressed herein are my own entirely. Such a story deserves honesty.

The book tells the story of Helena Colden, a veterinarian with a deeply troubling secret. What makes it uniquely engaging is the fact that Helena herself tells the story, “in absentia”, for she has succumbed to a fatal illness. Unable to move on to Heaven, she follows the life of her profoundly distressed lawyer husband David, as he tries to cope with his grief together with their remarkably diverse menagerie(horses Arthur and Alice, cantankerous pig Collette, Bernese Mountain Dog Bernie, Labrador Chip and feisty, yet fatally sick Schipperke, Skippy). In addition to his grief and having to care for all the animals Helena left behind, David finds himself fighting seemingly insurmountable odds, when a colleague of Helena’s, doctor Jane “Jaycee” Cassidy, seeks his help to prove that Cindy, a chimpanzee who has mastered sign language, reaching the communication level of a four-year-old girl, is not just property she stole from a research laboratory, but a life she saved. The life of an intelligent, caring, sentient being, who deserves more than being tortured in the name of science. What ensues is a story that touches upon more than animals. It is a complex, highly emotional tale that ponders with the concepts of mortality, loss, and the meaning of life, be it human or otherwise, in a poignant manner that will speak to readers, and especially to animal lovers. A well-deserved TEN OUTTA FIVE, for one of the most timely, relevant and soulful books ever to be written by an American author. Thank you, Mr. Abramson! A fine, fine work indeed!

 

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