Remember, You are Mortal
Memoirs written by ordinary people are my favorite genre to read. Because often, ordinary people prove to be extraordinary when you look a little deeper. In The Warmth of Ashes, the main character Daniel returns to his calling as a caregiver for a disabled man. This new connection is reminiscent of his prior caregiving experience with Sam, a quadriplegic, and he soon begins to experience hallucinations that send him down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories that threaten to infect his relationships.
That he always seems aware the visions are not reality, provides a foundation of hope that he will seek the help he needs to exorcize these demons of his imagination. But alcohol proves an easy method of self-medicating on occasion, with calamitous results.
Daniel is a fortunate soul with a caring girlfriend devoted to helping him move beyond his delusions so he can walk beside her in their planned future together. The author’s use of dialogue assists in developing the personalities of his characters, so the reader knows them well. Paaj, who during their engagement conversation says, “I don’t need a ring! Buy me a taco!” is practical, affectionate, and dedicated to their upcoming marriage.
Daniel is plagued by political and philosophical concerns, and it’s these conversations that provide significant strength to the novel although they intersect with his sensitivities that make living in reality arduous. While many people don their blinders to get through each day, each year, and on to the next goal, climbing corporate ladders, and keeping up with the expectations of peers, Daniel is mired in the complexities of the universe. “It’s lonely. It’s painful. It doesn’t make any sense and you will die a thousand deaths along the way.”
This is the author’s third memoir and it further demonstrates his talent for engaging a reader. He has constructed his world with words and sentences, so the reader is invited within and can glimpse life from Daniel’s unique perspective. Each chapter ended with a satisfying pause but I looked forward to starting anew and digging into the next segment. Imagine an intense conversation with a close friend that you never want to end, and this gives a hint of the insightful passages woven into the pages. Another remarkable memoir by N. Daniel.