The language of this book is simply stunning. It is poetry. It is music that flows over your soul through your eyes. This brings to mind one of the most important lessons I ever learned in my life: the way you say something can have tremendous power, either positive or negative. So much of the time we diminish our words to practically nothing – slang, emojis, text shorthand. There is no power in the things we say this way. That is function without form, though it does get the job done. There is most certainly a place in our lives for the shorthand version of speaking. I think we have gone too far in forgetting the depth and breadth of our words.
The Book of Whispers does not just hand you dry information on a page. This book gently takes you by the hand, draws you into another world, voicing promises that you will see wonderful and horrible things but that you will be safe. This is one of those magical books that consumes you so completely that you forget you are reading, forget you are turning pages, and you simply live in the story.
In addition to being beautifully written, The Book of Whispers is full of truths. Simple truths, such as „People often talk to their thoughts,” to profound truths that you really must read the book for.
There is a very straight-forward explanation for why funerals are full of pomp and ceremony – doing so serves as a distraction of the mind from one’s grief. Having just lost my grandmother, this passage struck me deeply as so very true. There is nothing much that can console a person from their grief when they are physically prevented from taking part in the ceremony of letting go of the one who has passed.
The Book of Whispers takes you by the hand and leads you on a journey through the author’s memories. Like a true trip down Memory Lane, the thoughts jump hither and thither and yon. For me, this added to the realness of the story. My own memories rarely travel in a straight line as identified by outside persons. They all feel quite connected to me, of course, but for an observer, I can only imagine one of my trains of thought would just seem a jumbled mess.
I confess, I did get lost a few times in the book, but quickly fell back on a tried and true method that, I have found, works brilliantly when reading a work of non-fiction – I kept a notepad handy. One page was for a tree, where I drew the connections of the persons listed, and the rest of the notebook was for my thoughts, impressions, questions, and hopes. You see, with a work of non-fiction, you simply do not get the same kind of hand-fed character understanding as you get with fiction. The author is trying to show you their world, one that they lived. The best way to do that, naturally, is to put one’s unfiltered thoughts onto the page. I feel that is precisely what Varujan Vosganian has done.
The journey The Book of Whispers takes you on is incredible and heart-wrenching. I have learned a great many things about a people and a culture that I never knew, and I feel I am much better for having read this remarkable work.