What’s Child Of Light all about?:
Child of Light is a story about a nurse who struggles as she comes to terms with her role in the oft-brutal cycle of birth, life, and death.
What did I think?:
This story is the last in this spellbinding collection by Randy Taguchi, and is a beautiful little tale with several dark moments. Child of Light opens with our narrator visiting a Buddhist shrine for the Bodhisattva of Compassion, the Goddess of Mercy, where she happens upon another woman praying for the soul of her child which she sadly miscarried. The two women begin talking and we find out that our narrator is a nurse working in the gynaecological field, mainly with pregnant women. She is struggling to deal with a build up of hatred and disbelief at how easily young girls become pregnant and abort the foetus in such a matter-of-fact manner. One patient is particularly troubling her at the moment, a young girl who is five months pregnant but appears extremely laissez-faire about her condition, insisting that she has to have an abortion. As the girl is so far advanced with her pregnancy the abortion process is slightly trickier and has to be carried out under general anaesthesia. While the girl is recovering, our nurse attempts to hide the disgust that she feels for her patient but her emotions are clear enough for the young girl to see. After a horrific incident with the girl’s father, our narrator finally begins to feel some kind of understanding and sympathy towards her charge.
Our narrator’s state of mind in the story is causing her great difficulties, and when she happens upon the woman praying at the shrine, we learn that she has visited to pray for all the aborted babies souls so that they reach heaven, to try and ease her own internal trauma somewhat. As the two women talk, our narrator learns that the reason the praying woman miscarried was because she was brutally stabbed and can no longer have children, despite her intense longing and desperation for one. Both women decide to join a group climbing Mount Fuji where they meet another woman who has advanced and terminal cervical cancer but is determined to reach the summit of Mount Fuji as one of her final tasks. Our narrator starts to realise the extent of other people’s suffering and reaches some sort of peace in her own mind after the journey to the top.
I thought this was a lovely story to conclude a short story collection which I have thoroughly enjoyed. Some parts of the tale are slightly dark, but intensely enjoyable, even though some images for example, the description of the abortion of the young girl will probably stay with me for a while, but this is proof of the power of the author’s writing. Although my views differ slightly from the nurse regarding abortion, I appreciated and understood her views on the subject, and found her fight to appease her own emotional state deeply moving. I think the inclusion of other female characters in suffering allowed our narrator to put her own problems in perspective, and find some stability in her own life. Lovely story, beautiful writing and a general “thumbs up,” from me! I’m definitely looking forward to exploring more of Randy Taguchi’s writing.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):
NEXT SHORT STORY: Proving Up by Karen Russell from the collection Vampires In The Lemon Grove.