Caesura, the first novel by lawyer Frank Hyle, tells the tale of Michael Telford, a middle aged professor helping to care for his aging mother, who is quickly succumbing to dementia and ill health, and the struggles he faces in both attempting to maintain her clarity and dealing with the unpleasant fact that, for his mother, the end is near. As Helen Telford lives out her last year in an assisted living facility, both she and Michael are introduced to a variety of characters, from the terminally ill man with whom both mother and son form a bond (who ends up playing an integral role in the novel’s heart-warming climax) and a nurse who just may provide Michael, still mourning the death of his first love more than 20 years ago, another chance at happiness. Through the recounting of memories and with faith, love, and endurance, Michael connects with his mother through stories and with Amy, the nurse, through music and a mutual affection for his mother.
First novels can be tricky for both authors and readers, as the first-time author’s prose has often not reached a point of maturation that reveals their full potential as storytellers. Caesura is no exception to this rule; Hyle’s prose is clear and concise, but he relies too heavily on dialogue and not nearly enough on description, and many of the pages consist largely of conversations between characters that simply feel unnecessary. That said, in spite of its limitations, Caesura proves a more enjoyable read than many novels published by small, under-the-radar presses. The story is heart-warming, family-oriented, and sure to appeal to people who enjoy sentimentality and know what it’s like to deal with aging, fading parents. Some of the ends of the book are tied up too neatly, and some not neatly enough—what was, after all, so special about Michael Telford’s first love that more than 20 years after her death, he still can’t move on—and certain plot points are a little too convenient, but Caesura is a sweet, lovely, and enjoyable little novel about familial bonds, parental role reversal, loss—and a little bit about music, as well.
|Page Count||272 pages|
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