Pin It
Favorite

Book Review 

Broken for You


By Stephen Kallos


by Ann M. Colford


There's an old saying that hearts are made to be broken because that's how the light comes in. Seattle writer Stephanie Kallos draws upon this wisdom in her debut novel, a story of growth and redemption filled with a delightfully offbeat cast of characters.


Margaret Hughes, a wealthy septuagenarian, has lived alone in her Capitol Hill mansion for 30 years surrounded by thousands of priceless china dishes and figurines. The booty, along with the family fortune, came from Margaret's father's dealings with the Third Reich during the 1930s and '40s, and Margaret can still hear the ghosts that reside within each piece. Diagnosed with a brain tumor, she decides to open her door to the world before she dies. Through this crack in her sealed existence comes Wanda, a woman in her thirties who has traveled across the continent in search of her wayward boyfriend. Wanda's past is no less tragic than Margaret's, and the two begin a slow and halting dance of kinship. When the younger woman displays an uncanny knack for piecing together broken dishes, their shared story is set in motion, a story that acknowledges and accepts brokenness as a necessary part of life.


When Margaret allows Wanda to enter her world, others come along as well. As Margaret muses, "Once the door is open, you can't shut it again." To Kallos' credit, even the minor characters feel developed and fully human. Because they are so numerous, the ensemble characters may go missing through a few chapters, but taken as a whole they illustrate the graces in a circle of friends.


Kallos writes in a chatty, breezy style that fits the quirkiness of the characters. Some of her observations are laugh-out-loud funny while others pierce the soul. Through it all, she wrestles with issues of relationship, using shards of broken pots as metaphor for our broken selves. There's an almost magical feeling to this story, as unplanned events and coincidences move things forward, but the whimsy is mixed with the earnestness of people trying to build an intentional community together. Ultimately, Kallos asks us to examine how we assign value to the things and the people around us. Is a flawless object more valuable than a broken vessel that holds a lifetime of stories? While the marketplace may have different ideas, Kallos sees the dings and the cracks in all our facades as the sites of richest meaning.





Publication date: 12/23/04

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Recall and Response
  • Recall and Response

    The attempt to remove Spokane Mayor David Condon from office may be a long shot, but he isn't taking any chances
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Shades of Black Lives
  • Shades of Black Lives

    A Spokane County detective's Facebook post about Black Lives Matter sparks debate among local law enforcement
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Fires Hit Home
  • Fires Hit Home

    Tens of thousands of acres burn around Spokane on Sunday and Monday; plus, DOJ weighs in on concerns over bail system
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • 'Unreasonable Threat to Life and Property'

    Spokane's rental housing has problems, but landlord and tenant groups are split on a solution
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • 'End of Story'

    Condon administration aims to close the controversial Frank Straub chapter — but last week's scathing report has irrevocably changed the narrative
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


election 2016


green zone


marijuana


trail mix


Readers also liked…

  • Crossroads
  • Crossroads

    A high-profile retailer is eyeing a particular block of downtown Spokane; what that might mean for the Central City Line
    • Jan 7, 2015
  • Why Idaho kids don't go to college
  • Why Idaho kids don't go to college

    And what that means for the Gem State
    • Mar 4, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation