Review of Dazzling Darkness by Rachel Mann

 

 

Dazzling Darkness by Rachel Mann is a book I’ve been meaning to read for ages.  We heard Rachel speak at last years Greenbelt and I wanted to hear more.

I had to read this book twice before I could write about it.   Not because I didn’t get it, but because it is so powerful.

At its heart Dazzling Darkness is a journey into honest self-discovery and perhaps more importantly, learning to live with that self. It is a story of the dark places, of longing for wholeness of all kinds, and finding the hope within them. It is a struggle to find language to express what needs to be said. This is a book about the Living God, very much present in the darkness, but not always how we imagine it.

I found this a powerful, honest and gritty book. It pulls no punches about the difficulties the author faced and continues to face, which is important. So often we only hear ‘nice’ stories about faith, we need to hear more real ones. Rachel Mann manages to bring hope and reality without saccharine sweet answers. I found chapter 9 the most power thing I have read on the suffering of chronic illness – and I have read, and written, a lot! As someone for whom chronic illness has robbed me of much, it made a different kind of sense to me than that which is usually offered.

It is a painful book, a book of struggle, very much grounded in the reality of life. We may think our story is nothing like this one, but pain and struggle are all around us; if not currently in our own life, in the lives of those in our community every day. It also might make you look at God in a different, helpful way. You may not ‘get’ it all, I’m not sure I did, but it is very worth the challenge.

I don’t think I have ever read a book quite like it, and I will fail to do it justice by saying any more than saying just read it.

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