Have you ever loved someone so much that you could not envision your life without them? A love so powerful that it continuously permeated your thoughts and intensified your happiness and contentment? Have you ever felt that way about someone? What if that someone was a cat? Have you changed your mind? If not, then I am guessing you are a true animal lover, similar to Bernard Jan who has penned this gripping and emotional novella.
A World Without Color is about a cat named Marcel and his owner, Bernard Jan, who is the author of the work. Essentially, the book follows the author’s personal journey with grief as he shares the last three days of Marcel’s life. Marcel had been sick for a while and it had reached a point where the illness and pain could no longer be tolerated. The peace and tranquility offered by death was simply too strong an opportunity to ignore.
However, it is not simply a tale which chronicles the last three days of Marcel’s life. Indeed, it is about the raw flood of emotions which Bernard feels as he helps Marcel along this journey to death. The unconditional love which he has for Marcel is not only shown in his sorrowful grief and guilt as he helps Marcel find peace and release, but also in the joyful memories and flashbacks of their past time together. The love and importance of Marcel is also revealed in the relationship Bernard’s parents have with him. They too are grieving the loss of a family member in their own way. The saying, “everyone grieves differently” comes to mind.
Bernard Jan’s novella is guaranteed to evoke powerful emotions in the reader. More than once I was reading the words through the fog of my own tears. This is not only due to the compelling theme of unconditional love, but can also be attributed to the author’s poetic use of language which help to garner these feelings. His descriptions and thoughts are beautiful and moving. From the joyful flashbacks to the inevitable death of Marcel, the scenes are completely enchanting.
When I first began reading this novella I believed it would really only resonate with animal lovers. Indeed, true animal lovers understand that our animals are family members and we love them as much as any human. Those who have not experienced such relationships could not possibly relate to this book… right? Wrong! The theme of unconditional love for another being is captivating and all encompassing. It will click an emotional nerve in anyone who has the good fortune to read it.
When I write reviews, I am very careful to never provide spoilers. That being said, the reader should be prepared for an unusual ending to the book which will require deep thought. It will appeal to some and not to others. Personally, it worked for me as I found it matched the turbulent and emotional nature of the story. I was also able to personally relate to the unbearable depth and despair of grief.
5 teary stars for Bernard Jan’s powerful novella!