As always, I’ll start by saying that this review is a personal and subjective opinion and should not deter anyone from reading this novel. I want to preface this review by saying that this is a novel by an Indie Author (like myself). For those of you with a jaundice towards independent authors, you need read no further. The same is true if you believe that animals are merely another type of disposable commodity to use and discard as you see fit.
If you subscribe to this notion, then you lack the requisite sensibility to appreciate the beauty of this story and you can pick a trail to something else more to your liking.The central concept of this novel is derived from the notion that animals are sentient beings that live many lives. They are assigned to human beings by a sage tree (Cambium) with the idea of imparting a fundamental life lesson to the selected owner (who is unaware of this process, of course).
There is a strong element of whimsical fantasy to this story, but for anyone who has ever been profoundly affected by a relationship with a beloved dog or cat and who can still, years after that animal’s parting, feel the intense pain and grief of their loss, this story will be almost painfully poignant and touching. From the perspective of wordsmithery, this is a competently executed offering, but its real power comes from the accuracy with which it captures the heartbreaking beauty of that special bond between humans and the short-lived creatures that often share their lives.
There is a happy ending to this story, but there is also a resonating sadness that made this story bitter-sweet for me on a personal level. William Colbert, the novel’s primary two-legged character, was a lonely man who grieved for Lanagan Murphy for twenty years after his dog’s passing…his pain did not relent, but in many ways, only intensified with the passing of time. If you believe (as I do) that animals are far nobler creatures than the human who hold dominion over them, this novel will be a rocky road…but one worth travelling. The true power of literature is its ability to touch the reader on an atavistic level of pure emotion…Cambium and the Life of Lanagan Murphy did this for me…5/5 and a glowing recommendation!