Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Book Review: 'Enlightened' by Billie Kowalewski
‘All stories have a beginning, but the best stories start at an end.’
Connecticut author Billie Kowalewski is a refreshing new voice on the literary scene. Though she has published only two books – ENLIGHTENED and its sequel DIVIDED her imprint on the mind of those fortunate enough to read her work is indelible. She appears to have a very strong future.
The afterlife – or the before life – is a topic that has fascinated poets and philosophers and lovers for centuries. Most authors deal with the subject as a time travel genre but Billie allows us to actually FEEL the difference between this life and the afterlife to the extent that the flow is ingratiating and welcoming and wholly credible.
The novel opens with the same delicate sense of light humor that makes Billie’s writing such a joy to read. ‘MY WORLD IS YOUR WORLD, only you can’t remember any of it. A barrier exists between what you think is real and what you know to be. It was put in place during the transition into the world you currently know, and will be removed upon your return. In other words…this is not your real life. My name is Harmony, and I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. I am a student at the biggest, most famous school ever known. And so are you! Earth. Yep, Earth is school. Are you shocked? If you are, it’s okay. This is the most common and expected reaction to this news. I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in… Just kidding! Based on the fact that you’ve chosen to read this, I’m gonna bet that you’re a lot like me. You’re probably fine, and not shocked by this at all. If you do, however, find this news to be at all surprising, perhaps it would be best if you stopped here. This story is based on an alternative viewpoint, and I’m not looking to upset anyone’s beliefs. I do understand that this story may not be for everyone. Our extreme diversity is an important part of what makes up who we are. So this may be where we will agree to disagree, and possibly part ways. Hopefully as friends. For everyone else, we will move on. Yes, life is about learning, and Earth is the school. I’m sure you’ve heard someone on Earth say this before. I know when I’m there I hear this often. People know, and it’s not because they remember that it is. They know because you cannot get through a single day there without learning something, somehow. It was set up to be that way. On Earth, learning some type of lesson is unavoidable. If you’re sitting there right now searching your mind for a tiny clue that this is true, you’re wasting your time. You won’t be able to find anything. Please don’t be mistaken––your memories are there. You carry them along with you, buried deep within your subconscious, hidden by a special barrier. This barrier will remain in place throughout your entire life, and it is what is keeping you from being able to remember the world from which you came. Not to worry––you’ll get your memories back, along with your new ones, once you…ahem…return home.’
The plot of Billie’s novel follows: ‘When Veronica lost the love of her life in a horrible accident she was sure he was gone forever, and she would never love again. Then, five years later she meets her own tragic demise leading her back to the man she loves, but, with an unexpected twist...Imagine waking up to discover that the life you thought was real never was. That your real life is actually lived somewhere else, and the love you thought was lost will go on forever.’
Radiant and mesmerizing and uplifting ENLIGHTENED is. Pleasure yourself with this very fine novel.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.