All of Us Together in the End

Hub City. Apr. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9798885740050. pap. $16.95. MEMOIR
Author Vollmer (English, Virginia Tech; The World Is Not Your Home) is earnest in his grief regarding the passing of his mother after a 10-year decline into dementia. Almost immediately upon her death, her primary caregiver—his widowed father—begins to see flickering lights of unknown origin coming from the woods around his rural home at night. This happening prompts Vollmer on an inward quest for meaning. Along the way, he reckons with his own past as a former Seventh-day Adventist, communes with spiritualists, struggles with the existential loneliness of the COVID pandemic, and, at long last, settles upon a final, tenuous peace. The author’s writing style might not be for everyone—there are long stream-of-consciousness sentences running more than 10 or 11 lines that may feel taxing. There are some undefined terms, such as “creepypasta,” that only horror readers might know and uses of the f-word that seem out of place. And a few missteps, such as Vollmer’s reference to Richard Hooker’s terms for the cornerstones of Anglican/Episcopal faith as scripture, tradition and ritual (it’s reason, not ritual).
VERDICT A post-pandemic voyage for the spiritually adventuresome.
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