Heaven Help Us All
Marj Llewellyn isn’t sure what to make of Gary Devers when he comes into her clinic in the days before the Gulf War. Like many of her clients, he seems to bear the psychological scars of past conflicts, though his exact diagnosis is hard to define and he skirts around the details of his past. He is attractive and intelligent, but what really pushes her out of her professional comfort zone is the news he bears; Charles Pinckney has disappeared. For Marj, Pinckney was a mentor, a touchstone, living proof that PTSD could be overcome. For Gary and the other bicycle messengers of Pinckney’s company Signed, Sealed & Delivered, he was something more: a beacon of sanity in a world that seems unable to learn from wars past. Ultimately, Marj is drawn deeper into Gary’s world, pursuing the connection between his secrets, the missing Pinckney, and a growing number of bizarre occurrences.
Heaven Help Us All is a robust and literary novel, driven by meditative writing and complex characters. A bit slow to start, it nonetheless gathers momentum and proceeds to explore the traumas of past wars that have become embedded in the American psyche and the hope for slow healing. While 1990 was twenty-five years ago, the issues the book deals with in that setting are timely and relevant in the world today, our culture inextricably bound to a simultaneous craving and abhorrence for war. It is a thoughtful and thought-provoking read, well worth picking up.
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