Butterfly Kisses
Sharmila Jayasinghe

In her first novel, Sharmila Jayasinghe brings a "Stevensonian"-type case to life. Told in the first person, the story, weaving in and out of time and places, immerses the reader in the world, and the emotions, of two young mothers--two mothers of the same girl in two subsequent incarnations. I cannot emphasize enough how realistic I found this book emotionally, except to say that as a man, I felt that I had gained a deeper insight into what it is to give birth and to be a mother. Having lost a child in my own experience as a father, however, I can say that the first mother's description of her daughter's death is powerfully accurate. Your ordinary life is going on as usual--suddenly, in an instant, the world you knew is gone forever, and there is no rewind button.

I feel that this novel fills a very important need--to bring home to the public the human reality of these cases that Dr. Stevenson, his colleagues, and his successor, Dr. Tucker, have been studying with the rigorous methods of science. There is a story like this behind each one of the cases laid out so carefully in Dr. Stevenson's books--and when people understand this, they will not be able to sit back and take skeptical pot-shots from their comfortable easy chair. In each one of these cases there is a birth, a death, and again a birth; there is love, there is loss, and there is rediscovery.

In short, it's about time that someone recognized the deep human drama inherent in these cases and portayed it. No-doubt there will be other authors and other attempts--but Ms. Jayasinghe has set the bar very high.

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