Four Windows is a book about places. It takes you on a journey to the real life places that you travel to and live in. But also, it takes you to those secret places inside your soul. The places where your sense of adventure is your passport and your mind your hotel room.
Two crows rested on the edge of a lake this morning. The mist of winter drifted across the water. The birds perched on a metal railing. Prophets of endings. Messengers of new beginnings. Bearers of truth.
book review from prairies book reviews
Original and imaginative… A one-of-kind travel memoir.
Bretherton deftly interweaves her travel expeditions with fragmentary, introspective musings in her engrossing latest. Her love for art and traveling are evident in the book, which is neither a collection of intertwined short stories nor exactly a memoir (although there are many sections featuring the author and her partner and well-developed narratives) Instead, this is a series of fragmented thoughts tenuously linked by the author’s travel diaries and a thoughtful, introspective voice.
Bretherton’s writing is exquisite and the observations insightful, making the book both reflective and unique. The first-person narrative brings intimacy to the writing, with Bretherton mulling over her own excursions bit by bit. There are long car rides through the vast landscape of America, stays at odd bed and breakfasts, private houses, and run-down motels. There is a wanderlust for life and talk about art.
Dreams, memories, optimism, Buddhism, and musings on life and death are sprinkled carefully throughout the narrative. Philosophical digressions make their entry, like how does your soul look? What makes you truly at home? What brings you contentment? What is fear made of? Along the way, Bretherton explores themes of love, human connection, home, and relationships.
Though the book is a sort of travel memoir that covers the emotional landscape of traveling as well, at heart, it remains a meditation on love and life.
Lovers of philosophical literary fiction will best appreciate this gem of a book.