May 25, 2024

A House Like An Accordian by Audrey Burges “We all want to know where we came from.”

Keryth discovers one morning that her hand is disappearing. It is fading from sight completely, such that she finds a pair of green gloves, and puts them on before coming down to her husband, Max, and her two daughters. Only Keryth understands what is going on, and what she must do: she must find her father, the man who could draw things into existence. The man who told her not to use her own artistic skill, but instead taught her to be afraid of it. Keryth grew up believing that whenever she was creative, harm would come to those she loved.

Her brother, for example, tragically disappeared into a pond one horrible night when she was sixteen. Her boyfriend, Tobias, was left behind by Keryth, lest he too, become wounded by her.

Her husband, Max, uses Artificial Intelligence to “recreate” his father, Harold. Harold’s voice speaks to the family from the ceiling, or his nimbus appears on their phones, suddenly giving advice when it is needed. And, sometimes, when it is not. It seems that both Keryth and Max are trying to recover things that they have lost. Or, more importantly, the people they have lost.

In this book of fantasy, I found myself pierced by many of the things that Keryth feels. “I wanted to be perfect, and I wanted to be perfect right away, without any practice at all.” Of course this is a completely unrealistic expectation, but one I have experienced myself when I, too, was a child.

She draws a Stellar jay in her sketchbook, a bird who seems trapped within its pages. In many ways, this bird resembles Keryth herself. “There’s a bird in my book,” I wanted to say. “And I’m the bird, and I don’t know how to set myself free anymore.”

And so, Keryth leaves her family behind, to let herself move forward. To find out where her father was, and what he was doing, as her disappearing hand, then arm, was directly linked to him. “He was drawing me - I knew I had to find him.”

It is a strange and magical journey on which she embarks. In some ways, my imagination was greatly stretched. In others, I find that journey to be exactly what it entails to find the answers we want: to know who we are, and from where we came. 

(I thank Berkley for the opportunity to read and review A House Like An Accordian, and to participate in the blog tour for its publication on May 21, 2024.)

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