When I write reviews, which I do often, I always try to do so with a professional unattachment; I want to appear suave and sophisticated. As if I know what I’m doing and am unaffected by the story. However, there are times when my humanness slips out and makes me say something like… WOW! Holy cow! OMG!
After reading, BETWEEN THE SUN AND THE SHADE by author Rico Kumana De Silva, I’m feeling VERY human. WOW! HOLY COW! OMG!
This book is comprised of a series of 10 poems, essays and short stories. Each is, at heart, a construct of hope and deliverance from the ashes of sorrow and despair. Take the very first of the ten, An Ode to Sir Robin Williams. A personal favorite of mine, Robin Williams is a part of the memories of almost every decade of my life. From Mork & Mindy to Mrs. Doubtfire to his dramatic roles in Final Cut and Boulevard and Dead Poet’s Society, Robin Williams was masterful. Funny to a fault; giving, caring, an everyman’s man…and, Robin Williams was a star. It hurt my heart to hear of his death at his own hand. Author De Silva must feel the same way. His poem, made up of just six stanzas is the perfect compilation of my feelings, exactly.
“The Captain dies,
His laughing tales
What truthful lies…”
How apropos. None of us could ever imagine the demons Robin wrestled with every day. His humor and wit, his crazy antics and constant smile belied his inner turmoil. De Silva’s ode is perfection.
Each of the offerings found here in Between the Sun and Shade are heart-wrenching and gut twisting. My personal emotional knockout came in the short story, THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, found in chapter 8 about a mother’s child killed when police mistake his toy gun for the real thing. This emotional tale of a young autistic boy who dreams of being a policeman himself, shot down while playing with friends is just…disturbing, sorrowful and all too real. I LITERALLY cried as I read it.
And yet, each essay, each poem, each short story leaves the reader with just a sliver of hope and a ray of sunshine. It’s a walk between the sun and shade and it’s a very tight place to be, indeed. Yet, Mr. De Silvo does so with aplomb.
The book is not perfect, and I don’t mean to claim it is. Mr. De Silvo is obviously a new writer. His work sometimes lacks the spit ‘n’ polish of a more mature writer. The grammar is sometimes amateurish and the prose just a little too basic. Yet, I personally did not find that to be a huge problem, so caught up in the realism of each story was I. And, (I’m assuming) the book is self-published so there are a few editorial mistakes—misspelled words and the like. HOWEVER, I was never pulled away from the scenery in front of me to take too much notice.
Overall, I found this to be a wonderful collection of essays. I am impressed with Mr. De Silvo’s work and hope to see more of it in the future.