Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Decades after the events of Beneath a Scarlet Sky, protagonist Pino Lella has a final encounter with author Mark Sullivan:

... he tossed his head back and laughed at the absurdity and unjustness of it all.

After several moments of quiet, Pino said, "You know, my young friend, I will be ninety years old next year, and life is still a constant surprise to me. We never know what will happen next, what we will see, and what important person will come into our life, or what important person we will lose. Life is change, constant change, and unless we are lucky enough to find comedy in it, change is nearly always a drama, if not a tragedy. But after everything, and even when the skies turn scarlet and threatening, I still believe that if we are lucky enough to be alive, we must give thanks for the miracle of every moment of every day, no matter how flawed. And we must have faith in God, in the Universe, and in a better tomorrow, even if that faith is not always deserved."

That's the beautiful coda to a powerful, if flawed, symphony: the story of a young man in northern Italy during the final years of World War II, a teen-age boy who saves lives, finds love, makes mistakes, and wrestles with ambiguity in search of justice and meaning as he begins to grow up. Much of Beneath a Scarlet Sky is wildly improbable; much is undoubtedly true. The prose could be better. The story is important. The conclusion is wise.

(cf My Religion (2000-11-06), ...) - ^z - 2019-01-26