Losing a child must be one of humanity’s worst nightmares. Although you can guess at it, the love a person feels for their offspring is beyond expectations – you simply can’t know what it’ll be like until you’ve experienced it yourself. Likewise, while parents can probably weep at the simple thought of losing a child, the reality must be beyond the scope of imagination – it’s a horror that no-one would want to face.
Three Shadows is about a family trying to avoid such a fate. Joachim, the only son of a simple farming couple, lives a simple, idyllic life, helping his father in the fields and playing in the countryside. But when three shadowy figures appear on the horizon, Joachim’s parents realise that they’re here for their son and that their time together may be running short.
As the shadows loom closer the family starts to fall apart, until Joachim’s father decides there is nothing to do but flee, leaving the shadows and the family’s happiness behind them.
The threat is metaphysical and undisclosed, but as the story weaves it’s way through this sad family’s epic journey, it becomes clear that the book isn’t really about the threat but how people react to the potential loss of a child. It’s a heart-rending story that can’t fail to tweak out an emotional response as we dwell on the detail and over-arching themes of the book, wonder how we might react to the loss of a child, and rejoice in how lucky we are to have the joy of spending even the shortest of times with our beautiful children.
The moral is to enjoy what you’ve got while you’ve got it. Buy this book, particularly if you’re the parent of young children, as there’s probably no better reminder of the importance of making the most of your time together.