Book review: An Uncertain Age

by Ulrica Hume

★★★★

A story about life on life’s terms, with all its uncertainty. I’m not really much of a fiction reader, and the spirituality of the book is probably too subtle for a religion blog, so I don’t know that it was a good fit for me, really … yet once I began reading, I had a hard time setting it aside.

This story is a quest for purpose, by a middle-aged woman who seems to have lost ties with everything and everyone that once gave life meaning. She toys with religion, on a sort of intellectual level, trying to break through the intellectual shell to the experiential. She and her new friends find themselves “seeking something that is one breath, one heartbeat, one step away,” but with different approaches.

As it turns out, the spiritual side braids with the mundaneness of life, and the two cannot be torn apart. There is sadness in the story. It soon becomes apparent that even the most imaginative author would destroy the book’s theme by trying to tidy up all its confusion by book’s end … so we are left with a sort of melancholy realism. The draw of the characters, and the bizarre connection I felt to them, leaves me shaking my head. I can’t figure out if I’m happy to have read the story or not. I suspect I’ve fallen prey to precisely the emotions Hume wanted to evoke.

Lest my late-night meandering thoughts leave the wrong impression, I want to be clear that Hume writes with intelligence and feeling. A well-written, intriguing read.

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