Longing, Recalling, and Risking {Book Club}

Today we continue our discussion of Seeker  by Helena Sorensen. If you’re new here, we are discussing the middle third.

Before we dive into today’s section, if you haven’t had a chance to read through the discussion from last week in the comments, do so. Whether you have read the book or not, the discussion will give you plenty to chew on.

As I reflect on this section, life is getting better and worse. Sort of the messy middle.

Fayrewood—has its own light as “The Shadow doesn’t come in here” (1271). Last week Sarah expressed it well in the comments when she said, “The Fayrewood seems so true to life. How life-giving it is. How it brings out something more noble and peaceful in us. How it pushes back the Shadow. And, how rarely we venture to see it when it’s right there.”

Holt—by the end of this section, Holt had been attacked by the dragon (and now wolves closing in). No one escaped without being impacted. The scope of loss struck me. It is both physical (buildings damaged), relational, and brings doubt.

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Friendship—Valour and Mina became friends! I loved Valour’s gesture toward Mina by inviting her to see Valour at work and share the secret of her apprenticeship. Yet, with them both loving Evander, you knew they would experience hurt too.

Love—I was hopeful when Valour and Evander started to fall in love. But the conversation between Valour and Mina over whether Evander will really hunt for new land was a bit crushing. Love can be confusing, can’t it? I think Valour really does love Evander, but she doesn’t believe he will hunt for new land. Mina also loves Evander and we know he does not feel the same, in terms of romantic love. But she believes in him. She supports Valour and Evander’s love in the sense that she does not let her own hurt feelings sabotage their relationship. Now that Valour and Evander are married, I wonder what will happen between the three of them. If Evander learns that Valour doesn’t really support him, it could be crushing. Or Valour could begin to believe him. Trusting that all will be resolved in the next section!

Death—So much death in this section, reminding me that the goal of life isn’t to appease the dragons. They will never be appeased. But to keep seeking for Light and Life.

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Stories—”Could he (Evander) muster the courage to speak of light when all around was darkness?” (1345) This section highlighted the power of stories and the need to retell and retell and retell them.

Bright things—We’ve read the phrase several times, “Dragons come for bright things.” The dragons seem to want to steal or destroy anything that might remind people of who they really are.

Attention—The fear that they might have drawn the attention of The Shadow, and not being clear exactly how they draw it. If they just talk or tell stories, but don’t do anything . . . does that draw the attention? If they seek for new land . . . does that draw it? As Christians, we understand that the Enemy of our soul is real, but it is not always clear what we do (or think or even believe) that might bring attack from him. Fear and fear of attention are powerful deterrents. What is the path towards being wise and not operating out of fear?

 

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These are the three themes I noticed in this section:

Longing—Mina, Valour, and Evander longing for the feeling they have in the Fayrewood. During the Dance of the Lantern light Evander thought, “And this is the best we have to offer. He couldn’t stand to watch anymore.” (1345) Valour wondered “How can I long for something I never had?” in reference to her twin who died. Chase disagreeing with Jameson that they have the best land in Shiloh, wanting something more.

Recalling—Touched on above, the importance of recalling the stories. It started with Evander recalling the stories Maeve told him. Then he asked the hunters to recall stories they had heard as children or from others. When Chase got home he shared the stories with Mina. And later Evander shared the stories with the town.

Risking—While much can be said of risk from this section, this one quote from Knox summarizes the tension: “It’s madness, and ya must know it. It’s one thing to risk yer own mind, yer own heart, yer own life, but ta lead others ta their deaths, men who might’ve eked out a few more decent years with their families. It’s you who risks too much.” (2236)

These three theme—longing, recalling, and risking—overlap with our realities, don’t they? We long for local friends around us (and so much more!). The stories we recall form us — as individuals, families, organizations, even the body of Christ. And risk is a part of our lives.

Well, I could go on! Helena has woven such rich themes in such an engaging package. I’m eager to find out what happens with Mina. Will Valour begin to believe in Evander’s plan? What will it cost the people to leave Holt? What will they gain?

All this and more as we finish the book next week. I look forward to our discussion in the comments!

Amy

P.S. Here is the reading plan for the next few weeks:

  • May 9—first third of Seeker
  • May 16—second third of Seeker
  • May 23—final third of Seeker
  • May 30—we will start The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker ConwayI haven’t finalized the plan.
  • June 6—Kimberlee Conway Ireton will share!

3 Comments

  1. sarah May 16, 2017

    I also really like the theme of recalling. When I was getting ready to leave China and the friend that had been with me the whole 8 years, it felt like I was losing half my brain. Practically, every day one of us would start up with, “Remember the time we had the worst cup of coffee ever…” And, the other one would start filling in the details- the bus station, the cold Nescafe machine, the thick sludge that resulted. Then, the other would jump back in- the desperate search to find a trash can to get rid of the “worst cup of coffee ever,” the long ride home on the bus and stopping for a late night bowl of zhou. Our collective recall was so much fuller than what either one of us was able to remember on our own.
    I love the “generational storying” in this series- that we get to hear what stories were passed on to Evander and the people of his generation, and then we get to see Evander himself become the story that is told. And, that the power of what has been doesn’t get lost- recounting Evander’s amazing courage pushes back the shadow for the generations that came after him.
    My favorite “longing” passage from this section is where Chase comes back from the hunt and starts telling Mina about Evander’s ideas about the sun:
    “Mina could say no more. An unbearable ache filled her and she could only nod to Chase. She struggled to imagine food without wolves, lanterns without dragons, the Fayrewood without the Turn. She tried to imagine a world without Shadow.”
    Such beautiful writing! And so relatable. How many times have we all tried to imagine the day when there will be no more sickness, death, sorrow or grief.

  2. sarah May 16, 2017

    Haha that’s so funny! I just posted that and then remembered that Evander was remembered as mad and not as courageous. I guess I rewrote that one. 🙂 Sorry!

  3. Helena May 17, 2017

    Sarah, I love your statement about collective recall. So much of the redemptive power of community and relationship lies in that, I think. We tell our stories and THE story and any story that matters, and our friends and our children and other believers echo them back to us when we most need to remember.

    On the topic of Evander, it’s true that he wasn’t always seen as courageous, but his courage and vision still endured. They had a profound impact on Abner and then Amos, and that, as you see in Songbird, is the falling stone that triggers the avalanche.

    Amy, you have such a difficult job! It’s such a challenge to stand outside a story and look at it from the perspective of themes and discussion topics when what you want to do is immerse yourself in it. I want to wrap stories around me like a blanket, and my very favorite stories are the ones I struggle most to talk about. They’re so personal. I just finished a fourth or fifth reading of a book I absolutely adore, and I still hardly know how to discuss it.

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