Park Bench

Wow. Just … wow.

Say you’re a park bench. A nice, traditional, roomy seat – big enough for two, or three, or four if you’re friendly, shaded by a tree in a park. Every day dozens of people go by – you see joggers taking a favorite route, or people on their way to work. Some pause to tie a shoe or take a call or catch their breath – and there’s that one bloody dog … And then there are the regulars, who come to enjoy the weather and maybe read or watch people go by – or stretch out on you to sleep, since they have nowhere else to go. Sun and rain and snow and starlight, through the four seasons, until …

The saying about pictures and thousands of words is a cliché – but it’s a cliché for a reason. As someone who has handled pencils, pens, and brushes, I know how tiny the difference is between a line that evokes an emotion or plays its part in a story, and a line that is … just a line. Christophe Chabouté is French – but that’s the other cliché about art, isn’t it? It’s universal. I didn’t have to blow the dust off my high school language course, because without a word a very clear and achingly beautiful story is conveyed – a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, a climax, a denouement – and an epilogue. Sometimes funny, occasionally heart-rending… the only small weakness I can think of in the book is that one of the threads of the story seemed far too predictable – I had a terrible feeling I knew what would happen. And I was right. And it hurt.

I love this book. In fact, I think I’ll go and start it over again.

The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review.

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