Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune is a beautifully poetic yet hauntingly real story of life, grief, love and friendship.
The book offers us a glimpse into what lies behind the curtain. Although fictional it delivers powerful insight into what regrets we may hold as we near our end of days and offers up questions we may ask ourselves into how we are living our lives and what changes we would make to ensure we pass happily onto the next world. It delivers an important reminder to evaluate your life: to check to see who’s important and to check to see how you’re living it and to make changes before it’s too late.
Wallace Price is a good businessman but being driven by success at his career the other areas of his life are sadly somewhat lacking. So, when he wakes up and realises he’s dead he’s angry to be torn away from his important law firm and shocked to discover he was not very well liked at all. In fact, there are a total of five people at his funeral, and one of them is a reaper who has been assigned to bring him to a character known as the ferryman.
Once at the quirky tea shop he meets Hugo, a man tasked with helping Wallace come to terms with his death and assist him with being ready to pass into the next phase of life. He also meets Nelson, Hugo’s grandfather, who also just happens to be a ghost, and Apollo, who is Hugo’s loyal dog who hasn’t left his side even though he is also dead.
But it’s here with this unusual group that Wallace discovers the true meaning of friendship and a love that he didn’t think he needed. He makes amends for the wrongs he has done, learns to put others before himself, and even becomes willing to sacrifice everything to help his friends.
Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story filled with laughs but one which will also no doubt make you shed a few tears too. I didn’t expect to find such a beautiful queer love story woven within the sadness of this book, it was a joy to discover. Even after the last words on the page were read the story stayed with me and the lessons it brought to the fore will be in my mind for weeks to come.
As we head into the new year, after another tough year in which we have been forced to survive many challenges, this book will not only give you the chance to escape into a stunning story but also motivate you to re-evaluate your own life.
Trigger warning: death and grief.
Thanks to Pan Macmillan for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.