Review of A Song for Issy Bradley, Carys Bray

Bray’s debut novel A Song for Issy Bradley is a beautifully written tale about how a Mormon family chooses to grieve and move on from a tremendous loss.

Throughout, Bray weaves stunning images which capture how differently a mother mourns to her seven year old son, or her deeply religious husband. The story is also told from each character’s perspective; allowing us to experience a kaleidoscope of turmoil and grief, and through the eyes of Alma and Zippy, we learn how it feels to come of age amidst family heartache.

Bray’s inclusion of Mormon expectations and teaching is fascinating. Not only do Bray’s characters attempt to meet society norms, they also attempt to reconcile their loss with what the scripture says: with how the Mormon church believes they should respond to the death of a loved one.

Thus, this story is a stormy sea – a tumultuous battle between doctrine and human emotion, heart and mind, and on many occasions, a battle between the characters who are all making their own path through the darkness.

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