Since humanity’s first steps in the Stone Age, Methuselah has harbored an ancient secret. Cursed by the shaman to witness the end of days, he searches in vain for a home, place to place, clan to clan, yearning to belong. First in prehistoric Africa and lately disillusioned with love for a hundred years in the New World, he learns all too well to guard his heart and hide his story. That changes when a car crash lands him in the hospital with a fractured skull. Doctors discover strange stem cells in his blood, promising cures and a fountain of youth. Methuselah faces choices of life and death.
Forced on the run again, he comforts himself by reliving a happier time, when he and Arrow, his first love, raft across the paleo-lake Makgadikgadi, which rested in those days on the vast Kalahari. In their age-old journey, the cavemen lovers find a place to call home and learn what it means to belong.
While Arrow’s enlightened sensibilities get the two of them in trouble and challenge Methuselah’s judgment, their adventures in an untamed world bring them together. When Methuselah’s enduring youth reveals itself through the passing seasons, he and Arrow bravely face a dire reality.
From the distant past that lives inside Methuselah, Arrow’s spirit reaches out, providing guidance for our threatened times. He gives Methuselah the strength to do the right thing and the courage to live his true self in the modern world. Arrow’s memory opens Methuselah’s heart and renews for him a hope of redemption in the arms of a caring man today. If only Methuselah permits himself to love once more.
I tend to love stories featuring immortal main characters, and this one about a young man called Diver who is cursed by a shaman to “see the end of days” was exceptionally enjoyable. The author does an excellent job at illustrating the difficulties of being immortal: having to move every couple of decades because you never age, having to end relationships before they find out the truth, unscrupulous doctors/clinics who would be eager to experiment on you, finding someone trustworthy to obtain fake identification documents and the difficulty in obtaining such documents in these modern, digital times where cameras are everywhere.
After a car accident jarred his brain, memories that our main character has kept buried for years (millennia even?) are now clamoring for his attention as he has an insatiable urge to write down his life story. So he does and gives us this book — a complete account of how he met the love of his life, how he became immortal, and how he survived the stone age as a “man who loves men.”
I loved how the author expertly combined the distant past with the present to tell a cohesive story of Diver’s life and love for Arrow. Through it, we see Diver’s failings and imperfections, as well as his deep love for the boy he once saved from drowning. In fact, during their scenes together, the sexual tension and energy between these two vibrates the pages. It warmed my heart to see their love thrive even when Arrow’s hair turned gray, and Diver’s did not. Their love remained firm despite the ‘age difference’ and living in a world where they often had to hide their love.
It was heartbreaking at times to journey with Diver, and he tried to find his place in the world, especially in the early years when it was nearly impossible to move to an island or community that was already inhabited without marrying one of the women. This theme of “trying to find one’s place in the world” still continues in the present day as he is constantly on the move because of his inability to age and his need to stay in the shadows. In this way, the novel asks many complex questions about death, trust, and loneliness and provides plenty to ruminate about after the story ends.
This book took my breath away. What gorgeous writing, and what a lovely story! I loved both Diver and Arrow. The emotional depth of Diver’s story drew me deeply into his spirit, to the point that his pain was my pain, his isolation, my isolation, and his joy was my joy. Perhaps the reason this book works so well, the writing, the characters, and the plot, is because it engages readers so quickly, and the story engaged me right away.
I absolutely adored this little gem of a novel that totally stole my heart, and I would definitely read more by this author.