A 2014 Christianity Today Award of Merit winner from the best-selling author of War Room!
Devin Hillis is a struggling documentary filmmaker who stumbles onto the story of a lifetime while interviewing subjects at an Arizona retirement home. One of the employees―a seemingly ordinary young woman named Treha Langsam―has no family and little memory of her childhood. She does, however, possess an extraordinary gift for connecting with dementia patients. Even more gripping is the story that begins to unravel when a cryptic letter from one of the home’s residents reveals clues to Treha’s shrouded past, setting into motion a chain of events that captures national interest.
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“Our stories intertwine in ways we can’t know when we first hear them. And maybe the point of all this is that we’d do well to listen.”
Treha Langsam is a mysterious young woman who has fallen through the cracks, much like many of the elderly people she works with at Desert Gardens. But Miriam Howard, director of the assisted-living facility, sees her extraordinary gift and untapped potential. Treha is a whisperer of sorts, calling those who have slipped into dementia back to a life of vibrant, if only temporary, clarity.
When a documentary team stumbles onto Treha’s story, her gift is discovered and the search for answers about her past begins. As the truth slowly unravels, Treha and those around her must each tackle a difficult question: if this is as good as life gets, is that enough?
With authentic characterizations and riveting prose, bestselling author Chris Fabry delivers an uplifting, human tale of an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift.
Devin Hillis makes documentaries about the elderly. The shorter ones are played at funerals as tributes to the deceased. Devin’s prize project, however, is a major documentary featuring the residents at Desert Gardens, an assisted-living facility. The problem is, Devin doesn’t have the heart to collect his fees from bereaved family members, and his big project isn’t finished, so basically, he has almost no income. With his landlord threatening eviction, and his partner wanting out, Devin still believes in his documentary. As Devin continues to film at Desert Gardens, he notices Treha Langsam, an unremarkable-looking woman deeply engaged in conversations with the residents, most of whom seem hopelessly uncommunicative. Treha, the product of foster homes, is a whisperer, and somehow has been blessed with the ability to communicate with those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Writing in his trademark lyrical style, Fabry (Borders of the Heart, 2012), spins a poignant tale about our society’s invisible seniors and the woman and man who see their potential. --Shelley Mosley
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