After loving Anthony Doerr’s masterpiece novel All the light you cannot see, I was eager to experience his prior works. About Grace is beautifully written, but an intensively slow read. A tale told in highly intricate descriptive prose.
About Grace tells the story of a man called David Winkler. Winkler is a hydrologist, with a fascination for snowflakes. What makes Winkler exceptional is that he has dreams or you might say premonitions. He dreams about a man being hit by traffic, which becomes a reality. He dreams about meeting his future wife, which becomes a reality. He dreams about a massive flood, in which his baby daughter will be a fatality. But rather than allowing this to become a reality, David flees Alaska, in a wild attempt to alter the course of fate. He flees to the Caribbean where David finds refuge amongst a young family. He builds a strong rapport with the young girl, Naaliyah. This relationship grows as the two age. In adulthood Naaliyah lives in a remote, rugged region, conducting an intense study on insects and their survival in frozen regions. She monitors bugs in states of virtual hibernation and eventually David finds refuge from the world again alongside Naaliyah. He almost becomes one of Naaliyah’s insects, shutting down, after a period of metamorphosis, and being reborn at the end of a long cold winter. David reflects upon the loss of his daughter, the rejection of his wife and the meaning of life.
About Grace, ponders intense issues of predetermination, it looks in depth at how the human and natural world influence each other and overlap. It is beautiful and thoughtful but simultaneously cold and distressing.