Broken For You, by Stephanie Kallos / by Christina Rosalie

With a haphazard cast of characters, Broken For You tells the story of an elderly woman who has been diagnosed with brain cancer, and her growing friendship with a young woman who was abandoned as a child. It also tells a complex story of forgiveness and creativity: the young woman makes mosaics that document images of grief and love—and of the Holocaust—out of the broken bits of the thousands of rare antiques the older woman inherited—originally stolen by Nazis from the Jews in Europe. The first half of the book was slow and indirect. It took me weeks to read. But as the plot unfurled amidst a gleeful smashing of plates, I became glued. I couldn’t put it down. Switching back and forth from simply narrating the story to a voice that speaks directly with the reader Kallos’ writing is bright, delicate and hopeful. She is brave enough to take up a dialogue with death and loss, and changes it with the beauty of the images she imagines and conveys. A wonderful, joyous read.

“Loved ones whose presence once filled us move into the distance; our eyes follow them as long as possible as they recede from view… Maybe we chase them…Maybe we stay put, left behind, and look for them in our dreams. But we never stop looking, not even after those we love become part of the unreachable horizon. We can never stop carrying the heavy weight of love on this pilgrimage; we can only transfigure what we carry. We can only shatter it and send it whirling into the world so that it can take shape in some new way.”