Harnessing Light by S.B. Goncarova (Book Review)

Harnessing Light

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  • Source: Review Copy
  • Pages: 172
  • Publisher: Clay Grouse Press
  • Publication Date: October 2019  
  • My Rating: 4 stars

Blurb from Goodreads

“I SAID GOODNIGHT knowing full well it was goodbye, and then in the dark, you were there, on the bed next to me, only three thousand something miles away, and the quiet sounds of you muddling on your guitar seep into my veins and lull me into that cloudy space between awake and asleep, and in the end I am brought back to the beginning—”

Can one create a love so bright, that it crosses distance and time? In this enduring love story, Harnessing Light is the journey of one woman trekking across the world in a search to find home, peace, purpose and love. In a quest that transcends physical limitations, Harnessing Light beckons us to our own, to discover what the true search really is.

My Thoughts

“You must grow your roots as thick as the ones you’re standing on, he said. Deepen and strengthen them. In fact at this point in your life that is the single most important thing you can do. Developing your connection to the source so firmly that nothing can knock you off balance. And once you’ve done that, and only when you’ve done that, one day, you will discover that you’ve been soaring above the canyon on gossamer wings for some time already, and you just hadn’t seen it yet.”

It’s hard to describe what this book is about as there is no such plot. It’s a journey of a woman, a collection of thoughts, memories, scenes, all beautifully written with every line holding the capability to make you feel strongly. It describes how being in a long-distance relationship is like and how emotions and feelings transcend geography. The narrator describes her journey in various places, a good part of it in Hội An, a city in Vietnam, and Montreal.

The book is like a letter or a series of letters with both observations and incidents, and unfinished sentences at places. The writing style is very descriptive and lyrical. Despite being so descriptive, every word is written with precision and at no point does it feel like the book is dragging. I read many lines again and again.

I loved how the author incorporated photographs in this book. They weren’t out of place and they didn’t take away attention from the writing. They perfectly complimented it. There are also amazing poems in-between. Again, they made the book richer rather than breaking the flow. One of the poems I loved was “To Andromeda and back.”

Due to its narrative style, there isn’t a grounding force in this book. That isn’t a bad thing but I find a book more engaging if something is bringing you back to it. Also, it took me a while to get the hang of the book because the way that the narrator was feeling kept on changing.

The author addressed many things despite the short length of the book including the alarming climate crisis, and condition of women in households where they have no independence.

“Maybe the stars in our galaxies were aligned briefly, but yours spinning so off-kilter in worlds so far from mine, it’s a wonder that we ever were aligned once”

It talks about human relationships and emotions, the relationship between parents and children, long-distance relationships, the pain we cause each other, the inevitability of death that we ignore, longing and loneliness. There was a beautiful, heartfelt ending.

This book is to be read slowly, taken in and experienced. I am grateful to authors who capture the way we feel, our tendencies, good and bad, so accurately to make us feel understood. In a way, this book is about exploring life and self-reflection which can be seen in the nomadic lifestyle of the narrator. It is also very raw as she describes the feelings of helplessness and guilt one feels when they are unable to help people who are stuck in a terrible living situation. The book does have a love story but it’s not shown conventionally as the book has so much more than that.

This is the kind of book you read on the weekend, on vacation or at night to wash off the day’s stress. I feel a light within me after reading it as if I’m more awake and sensitive to life and those around me. Some books are more about the way they make you feel rather than what they are about, which is why you keep going back to them. This is one such book.

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