Review: The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis (SPOLIERS)

SPOILERS ahead…

I started this novel with mixed expectations, but I kept reading. I am fascinated by the concept of a ‘thin place,’ which the author says “is a term from Celtic mythology” and “is a place where the membrane between this world and the other – the world of spirit, that part of life we can’t see – is very, very weak.” (The Thin Place Reading Group Guide p5) This sounded like a world where our mundane reality and would mix with the world of myth and legend. There is mention of Inuit legends, a girl who brings people back to life, and the everyday goings on of a small town. There long meandering sentences that give you the world’s point of view. I like the chapters from Margaret the dog’s point of view, and from Helen the 90-year-old’s. But, the whole time I was reading I felt like every chapter was a puzzle piece and someone had put the wrong picture on the back of the box. I wanted it to make sense so much that I forced myself to the end. I put in all the work that I normally do with books that I like – writing down the words I don’t know or that are differently by the current text, and I copy out all the quotes I found fascinating. I turned the last page and I was disappointed. The last chapter was everybody’s deaths. No matter when or where or how they died, we had to read through everybody’s death. What was ‘thin’ about this place? The characters were close to nature whether they appreciated it or not. A few of them witness the miracle of resurrection. The church was the only place where almost all the characters cross paths, but it seemed more battle ground than a place of worship. I don’t know what I missed here. I am sure there was some greater point I was supposed to walk away with, but I didn’t get it. I didn’t enjoy the experience of getting there either. I just forced myself to do it. There was lots of pretty language, though.

“This is because souls are attracted to measuring devices, those places where things as purely noncorporeal as themselves, which is to say numbers, are made to serve material ends.” P175

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