A boy struggling to process an unexpected loss believes he has been given a series of clues to the biggest puzzle of all—the meaning of life—in this deeply felt debut novel.
“An exquisitely beautiful and compelling novel about love, loss, and life.”—Rachel Joyce, New York Times bestselling author of Miss Benson’s Beetle
Meet Ollie. He’s eleven years old. He hasn’t yet met a Killer Sudoku he can’t solve, but he finds the world around him difficult. People don’t say what they mean, and he hates being wrong. And now, a sudden tragedy teaches him there is no easy answer to the problem of grief.
When Ollie’s happy-go-lucky father, Rich, dies of brain cancer, his mother, Ruth, has no idea how to keep living, and the entire family is thrown into disarray. The only thing that makes sense to Ollie is the puzzle he’s convinced his father left behind: one gift for each member of the family. If Ollie can find the connection between a pink vase and an old pair of binoculars, then somehow he’ll discover the secret he believes Rich wanted to share with them all: what it means to be alive.
Interweaving the voices of each character in turn, this deeply felt novel paints a portrait of a family learning to come together through the darkest times. This Shining Life is a poignant yet ultimately uplifting meditation on grief, healing, and love.