Wednesday, June 6, 2012

One Soul by Ray Fawkes

The life stories of 18 individuals throughout history are told, from birth to death.

This was a fascinating read.  I didn't really know how to dread it when I started.  Every page is a double-page spread divided up into 18 boxes.  Each individual has their own box.  My first read through I looked at all the boxes on each page.  I found myself focusing on particular stories that drew my interest and ignoring others.  You can't keep all 18 in your head the whole time all the way though.

After I'd finished I started going back.  I would take a strip at a time and follow their stories all the way through.  I could keep three in my head at once.  Whenever an individual died, their box went black, and stayed black the rest of the way through, although sometimes there would be a few sentences in the boxes.

The stories span history and geography.  The first box seemed to be a man in an early civilization.  I think there was an Egyptian one.  One who fought in the Crusades.  A child who was left on the steps of a monastery.  One who fought in the Revolutionary War.  One from either WWII or Vietnam, I wasn't totally sure.  We don't just see their adult lives, but from the very moment of their birth.

So many of them seemed to have sad lives.  Life was very difficult for most of them, and people died early, because that's just how things were.  You didn't live very long when you live during a period of constant war and change.  There were moments of happiness as well, of course, but I was definitely struck by how sad it all seemed.  Out of all 18 lives, only one made it to be an old woman.

Was it supposed to be the same soul reborn throughout history?  The title would suggest that, or does it mean that people are contented throughout time?

I would highly recommend getting this one.

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