Talking to Calippa Cumberland – Chick Yuill

An unusual story with an unusual title, following the main character’s life from a key moment in her childhood, which then provides an anchor for a lifetime that follows. This anchor is her imagination, a powerful tool when used as an emotional outlet, a companion, a counsellor and a healer.

It is a very well written story. At first the many strands seem to be a bit random, even out of place in the early chapters, but it all comes together to make sense, creating a lifetime of inter-related experiences and relationships, good and bad.

The encounter that kicks it all off is an interesting concept, and a true observation that the brain is so powerful that emotions, in this case sadness, empathy and fear, can trigger a lifelong coping mechanism, helping to process and deal with the ups and downs that life throws up. And in this case these are pretty extreme experiences, the sort of childhood experiences that define a life. The author has a good understanding of the power of emotions.

There is included a great description of grief, caused by loss, and the utter emptiness that follows in its wake. The way that it robs a person of all hope, leaving them in a dark void, unsure whether life has any meaning.

This sort of episode is juxtaposed by each chapter being set on a Christmas Eve, a day that represents the coming of eternal hope.

Faith is presented in a real way, knowing that many people, especially those whose lives have been shattered by trauma, will find it very difficult to accept. When they may feel that the reality of their life contradicts the platitudes.

The story is a powerful tool to explain how feeling lost, completely lost, does not have to be devoid of hope. There is always the promise of being found, accepted and loved, which can come from many surprising places.

It is a story that shows us however much a person may feel abandoned and empty, there is a Father who is constant and forgiving, who is there with arms wide and welcoming ready to embrace when the time is right for you to run back into His arms. All that is needed is to reach out and touch even just the hem of His garment, in faith, and He will sweep you up into a place of healing and peace.

And for me, a sign of a good book is if I engage enough for it to make me cry… well this one did, quite a few times, not just welling up, but all out proper weeping! So be warned, it may be best not to read it in public!

Talking to Calippa Cumberland, by Chick Yuill, is available here.