Second Rising demands to be put down occasionally, and though its sentences sometimes require wrangling, the story is as much about what does not exist on the page (and what, arguably, does not exist at all, in memory or otherwise) as it is about the narrator and her grandmother.
But it’s not all lyric and philosophy: the narrator and her grandmother are three-dimensional characters and their changing relationship is recognizable and credible.
“She had told me once that when you begin to die, you must forget everyone you are leaving behind. [...] It was much easier to forget while you were still alive, she said, because you could replace the living with those already dead.”
What the grandmother has told her granddaughter does seem to fit with what she observes as the older woman struggles to remember things which came naturally once.
But just as some of what she has heard is a warning, there is some comfort there too. Despite some very sad aspects to this story, there is something to the telling which makes it bearable.
“By the time the coldest days arrive, the year is already being born again — the chills are shudders of awakening, an engine turning over in the dark.”
More here if you're intrigued.