- Paperback: 296 pages
- Publisher: INHOUSEPRESS (Dec 11 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0978026705
- ISBN-13: 978-0978026707
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 381 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,629,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Gate: Things my Mother told me Paperback – Nov 21 2007
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About the Author
Stanislaw Kapuscinski, (aka Stan I.S. Law) an architect, sculptor and prolific writer, was educated in Poland and England. A refugee from Poland at 13, then at 33, having overcome numerous difficulties, he began his search for the secret of life. Now, he is a successful writer, happily married for 30 years, with an assured future. His special interests cover a broad spectrum of arts, sciences and philosophy. At times he seeks inspiration in the Peruvian Andes, or solitude under sail. His books (articles, short stories, poetry) attest to his particular passion for the scope and the development of Human Potential. He authored more than thirty books, eighteen of them novels. His non-fiction explores Ancient Myths, Biblical Symbolism, Immortality and the mystery of Visualization. Three volumes of Essays (Beyond Religion) investigate the Nature of Being. Generally, if you suspect you are more than flesh and bones, read Stan Law. If you want to be sure, read Stanislaw Kapuscinski.
Top customer reviews
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As we read this novel we experience initially in an honest and unsentimental way the journey of a man in his nineties towards his end. He suffers from Alzheimer’s. On reflection, he does not actually “suffer”. He lives with Alzheimer’s, which is not the same as “suffer”. The old man and his ten year younger wife, Mrs. Kordos, spend their remaining years in the Institute of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Mrs. Kordos is around eighty at the beginning of the novel. She is also the mother of the first person narrator of the novel. His name is Steven. Apart from the people already mentioned, there are another three central characters in “The Gate – Things My Mother Told Me”. They are a female nurse, a male nurse and a retired priest. Other interesting characters in the novel, albeit playing minor rolls, are the narrator’s younger wife and his brother.
Throughout the novel, the real protagonist is Mrs. Kordos. Apart from brief flashbacks to her youth, we get to know her at around the age of eighty and accompany her on her final journey through life.
What a woman! She is a highly intelligent and deeply religious lady. Her son Steven, a man of brilliant intelligence, is a very spiritual man. To him to find answers to questions about life, death, life after death, free will and other deeply philosophical topics, he rejects the Catholic teachings. He knows The Bible from cover to cover, but he is also very familiar with the famous books of the other great religions. His interpretations of the truth contained in these books, in comparison to his mother’s understanding of the truth as taught by the Catholic Church, forms an enormously fascinating and ongoing part of the novel’s narrative. There is a lot of subtle humor sprinkled into these philosophical discursions. They are presented in a down to earth manner and they are made even more interesting – more mysterious, one could say – by the input provided by the above mentioned male nurse, Raphael.
The second half of the novel deals increasingly with the topic of death and dying. We go together with the narrator’s mother on her final journey. Again, in an unsentimental and often humorous way, interspersed with intelligent wittiness, we identify ourselves with an unforgettable lady in her nineties for who the problem is not dying, her real problem is that she is still alive, when really she thinks she should be dead. Her reflections in this context – discussions with her God, I am inclined to say – are of such a deeply moving nature, I can’t imagine that I will ever forget them.
But please don’t think I gave away too much of the story. There is so much more going on. What I told you above is just the framework. The events between one of the nurses and the retired priest are full of suspense and just brilliant. They reveal so much about our human nature and conditioning, you can’t help but reflect on it in the context of your own life.
I wish I could come across more books of the nature and quality of “The Gate – Things My Mother Told Me”. This is a novel I highly recommend, a book that deserves to be read by millions of people. (Reviewed by Fred Schäfer, author, and posted by his literary double, Johann David Renner.)
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Though you know where the book is heading, you can't quite lock down how we are going to get there, or what we are going to learn on that journey. The Gate: Things my Mother told Me, is a beautiful memoir that I will not easily forget.
I knew I'd find his typical brilliant wisdom on everything from how time unfolds to how faith, loyalty, love, distractions and our self concept affects the way we live. But I was delighted to find even more in The Gate, including interesting characters (my favorite was Father Mulligan) and the humor that was brought to bear by the many observations of human behavior in the chapters (like the absurdness of a physiotherapist screaming at a circle of dementia patients to return the ball.)
Most importantly, the book does something I've never experienced before in moving from very self aware memoir towards an awareness of the dementia/dying processes, and then to a lack of awareness of them. Achingly beautiful and so very human in the best ways, I highly recommend The Gate.
The book is deftly written, appealing to your emotions and love for family as the book explores these topics, as well as the topic of loss as a loved one succumbs to the pain and suffering of old age. Still, the book is uplifting as you navigate through the life experiences of the lovely Polish woman who is struggling with her own mortality.
If you are looking for a book that will change your outlook on mortality, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and the importance of family, this is the book for you. An excellent read by an amazing author.
Law’s ability to write a compelling story that touches the heart whilst adding that famous pinch of humor is just amazing.
This novel has everything you’d expect from this author and once you have finished reading you are bound to sit thinking about life and what it’s all about.
Touching, very real and with such richness and depth to the characters that works perfectly.
A fantastic read that I’m sure most people will enjoy.