As a father, there are a number of things that play constantly on my mind. Obviously the safety and security of my family is paramount, but there are other things too. Scary thoughts like what I might do if my partner died. Would I be able to cope? And if so, how?
Hopefully, it’s something that never happens to you, at least while your family is young. But obviously it happens to some people, and sometimes those people find it very hard to manage. Told through the eyes of seven-year-old Thomas Tennant, Mother, Come Home is the story of a father and son who aren’t managing to cope after the death of Thomas’s mother.
It’s a heart-breaking story. It’s clear that, at first, young Thomas knows little of what’s going on, and the hardships faced by his father are revealed piece by piece as we pass through the book. But while his father fails to cope, Thomas is heading the other way – covering for his father’s shortcomings and denying that his mother is gone for good. This makes it difficult for him to get over his loss and move forward – all his behaviour suggests that he’s simply looking after things for her until she returns.
Hornschemeier’s clear-line style cuts everything back to the characters, so we can see the slightest emotion creeping onto their faces. This is essential, since his characters aren’t particularly good at outwardly displaying their emotions. But through various means, Hornschemeier gets the message across all too clearly.
The book weeps poignancy: it’s dripping from every page. It’s beautifully written, brilliantly paced and should be a book in the collection of every father. It doesn’t answer any questions, but it explores a path and enlightens us in its own way. It may be heartbreakingly sad but it’s an important journey that the characters have to make. And despite the infinite well of sadness that the characters seem to be drawing from, there are elements of uplifting beauty in here, which are all the more precious when surrounded by such crippling sadness.
Read more books by Paul Hornschemeier:
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