In the winter of his life, Nathaniel, a fruit rat, is bored, angry and depressed. Even his long suffering wife, Birgit is becoming impatient with his litany of complaints and ailments. He has grown increasingly self-focused possessing little interest in his colorless world. Sometimes he wistfully recalls his adventures as a young rat in search of life’s meaning. But then again, he thinks that what seemed profound then, now feels banal and mundane.
Life changes for Nathaniel when he encounters an old friend, the eccentric old possum, Mr. Leach who blames Nathaniel’s “wretched state” on his attempts to claim others’ epiphanies as his own. “One creature’s epiphany is another creature’s folly. To discover your own truth, you must engage and extract. The lessons your life wants to teach you must be extracted, mined, extricated, yanked, torn, and even ripped from your experience”.
Nathaniel learns the art of engagement and discovers a world brimming with intriguing complexities; joy and sorrow, victories and setbacks, justice and injustice. But engagement without extraction is nothing more than sensation without interpretation. What does it mean? And what is that worth? Nathaniel is challenged by Mr. Leach to extract the meaning from his experience where he learns more about himself than those whom he engages. Along the way, his learnings are accompanied by Blues tunes he spontaneously composes that clarify the relationship between his melancholy and the lessons life wants to teach you and he wants to know.
Went down to see my old friend’s house,
best friend I ever had.
Now he’s gone away and left this world,
and oh, I feel so sad.
I’ve got my-friends-are-dyin’ blues.
That’s right, my-friends-are-dyin’ blues.
In time you’ll learn the truth, that everything you love,
you will lose.
“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” Proverb
We all like to read them at some stage, and many of us are so influenced by a good story that we adopt life changes to match. True stories and biographies are obviously the most inspirational, but there are also fictional stories that can be just as inspiring. And for me, Nathaniel’s Got The Blues by David L. Heaney is such a story.
More often than not children relate themselves with the characters of a good story. In such circumstances, reading fiction can help them to get inspiration from the characters. These stories often portray real life implications through anecdotes, and as such makes it easier for them to understand the complex aspects of life. Moreover, reading these stories at regular intervals can actually help them to develop a positive outlook towards life, which eventually proves beneficial for good character development.
Nathaniel’s Got The Blues by David L. Heaney is a superbly written and richly descriptive novel. The author reacquaints us with, Nathaniel, a rat who appeared in his first book, A Yorkie’s Tale: Lessons from a Life Well Lived. While that book was a quest in an attempt to learn how to live a good life – with the shocking discovery that life does not go on forever – they learned a lot on that journey; what was important and what was, perhaps, relatively unimportant. ‘Nathaniel, who is now old, is engaged in yet another existential crisis, wondering if there really is anything more to learn as he wanders rather aimlessly through the winter of his life.’
Captivating and commendable, this work had me immersed from the beginning. The story flowed from scene to scene with ease, and the author shows exceptional ability when it comes to storytelling. There are plenty of attention-grabbing moments in this page turner that will take the reader on a truly thought-provoking, reflective and inspirational journey!
I’ll be looking forward to reading more from this author in the future. A well-deserved five stars from me.