Friday, September 19, 2008

Blue Genes

I happened to catch an interview (audio available here) with Christopher Lukas yesterday on The Diane Rehm show. Lukas talked about his new book, Blue Genes: A Memoir of Loss and Survival.

For those of us who have struggled with family relationships in general and with severe depression in particular, Lukas offers some insights and compassion. What struck me in particular in interview was when he said that as much as he loved his brother, he could not forgive him for having committed suicide. One has to understood what he said and what he meant in context, but for those who might not have grasped it, he discusses it at some length late into the show in response to a question from a caller. The upshot was that this event was, for Kit (Christopher), one in a series of abandonments (including his mother's suicide when he was a child).

It is difficult for me to put into words, but there was something about this story that went well beyond the history of an unhappy family (or, rather,a family of unhappy persons, some suffering from debilitating mental illness and some ending their lives in suicide). Despite its long, dark shadows, the story speaks of real love, despair, connections, disconnections, of both human limits and the yearning to transcend them. For me, it hit home, deeply.

No comments: