Certainty Review
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Albert Einstein said we could face the worst if we simply renounced our yearning for certaintyÖ

Certainty begins with the sudden death of Gail Lim, and her husband, Anselís struggle to let go of her in his day to day life. Life is chaos, and you can feel this as you read further. Loss is never easy, no matter how imperfect you might have been in that personís lifeóor how imperfect he or she might have been to you.

The story then jumps back several decades, to a Malaysian village thatís occupied by the Japanese. There we meet two young children, Ani and Michael. We see the horrors of war that they witness, and we see how it shapes their lives and those who come after them. Michael is Gailís father, and before her death, she sought to understand his secret while dealing with the painful love of her own life.

Beautifully written but often confusing, Certainty is about loss and the struggle to understand it. Itís also about loving someone who holds back a part of himself for someone or something else. What must it be like to love someone who refuses to give himself to you completely? Itís also about secrets and the need to uncover them in order to understand a loved one or a strangerís motives.

Understanding Certainty is like trying to crack a difficult code. I donít recommend this novel if youíre not in the mood to decipher the deeper meaning buried somewhere in all the literary chaos that this book holds. You have to be persistent, and youíll finish the book before it even begins to make sense. Then youíre left with uncertaintyóand maybe thatís the irony of the whole thing.

I love a challenge, and Ms. Thien certainly gives it to me, but reading a novel like this is like eating a big bowl of broccoli covered in melted cheeseóitís good every now and then, but I wouldnít want a steady diet of it.

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