The Other Room (October 2013) is a powerful, emotional story about two parents grieving the loss of their only child, one-year-old Lily. Although it begins with the couple, Claudia and Josef, the novel spreads to how the aftermath of this tragedy touches the lives of their extended family. It is essentially a close examination of what happens when a family, known for avoiding conflicts, suffers a major loss and must face the truth.
In 1991, newly married Dr. Josef Coleman and his wife Claudia bought a house with the hope of raising their family there. Soon after settling in it, the loving couple welcomed a baby girl into their lives. Sadly, for reasons explained in the book, Lily’s life was cut short. Josef and Claudia deal with this significant loss in different ways. Five years after her death, when the novel opens, their days of being happy and in love are long gone.
Through journal entries, shifts in time, and different point of views, the Coleman’s story is revealed. Not only does the reader gain insight into the past five years of the Colemans’ marriage, but also into the days of their young love and Claudia’s childhood. The way in which Triedman pulls back the curtain on their lives is both heart-wrenching and beautiful. This book is hard to read at times, but I simply could not put it down.
Triedman, an accomplished poet, has proven herself to be quite the novelist with her debut work. Her poetic prose is rich with imagery and emotion. Her flowing sentences speak deeply to both the setting and characters. The Other Room is an excellent example of storytelling at its best.
I would highly recommend this novel to adult readers who enjoy intensely emotional stories with well-developed characters. I am a new fan of Kim Triedman and look forward to reading her next work of fiction.
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