Coffee Girl Meets Broken Man In This Heartwarming Novel
Condolence: an expression of sympathy. Coffee: a hot drink made from the roasted seeds of a tropical shrub. Wesley Parker’s debut novel “Coffee and Condolences” introduces a hot blend of characters simmering with unexpressed emotions — all in dire need of sympathy.
The story begins with Miles, who in one unlucky twist of fate, loses his wife and children in a car crash. Insurance money in his pocket, he can go anywhere or do anything he wants. But money can’t bring back his family or appease the lifetime of guilt he carries around with him.
Suicide almost claims his life. But a court-ordered therapist gives him the tools for muscling through what life he has left. In the process, Miles must track down his half-sister, the only one who truly understands where he’s been and who he is. But she has baggage of her own, and she doesn’t hesitate to whop him over the head with it. When is mother enters the fray, a narcissist who never let him forget he was unwanted from the start, Miles is in full defence mode.
But running from his past never got him anywhere good. And when his new homeless friend and a coffee shop barista begin to break down the carefully embedded walls protecting his heart with their stubborn sympathy, Miles has to find a new approach. He has to stick around. And listen. And feel.
Parker takes us on a journey from the peaks of Colorado to the underworld of New York City, sprinkling the path with music, poetry and soulful characters. “Coffee and Condolences” is a cautionary tale, challenging us to look at every unsavoury encounter through a sympathetic lens, including ourselves.
Sometimes “(w)e go into self-preservation mode” where there’s only one thing to do: “Shut the f*** up.” Other times, like a relay race, “we each hold our baton and run with it as long as we can, but eventually we must pass it on.” (pp. 117 and 144)
Told with gritty humour and emotional depth, “Coffee and Condolences” is an incomparable novel that sticks with you. Every twist and turn in Miles’ path provides fuel for reflection. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for a heart-warming, soul-stirring experience.