Someday Everything Will All Make Sense, Carol LaHines’ debut novel, is, on the surface about death from choking on a wonton. But what it’s really about is grief, the process of rehealing, and the profound impact that the loss of a loved one has on us.
Luther van der Loon, a harpsichord virtuoso and professor of medieval music at a New York university, is eccentric and already struggling, but he hits a low after his mother dies from choking on a Chinese takeway, and he failed to dislodge the wonton using the Heimlich maneuvere. His long term girlfriend Cecilia offers therapeutic support and discourages Luther’s obsession with sueing the Chinese as a way to assuage his own guilt.
The universality of love and loss flickers throughout the book, which is warm and funny. Luther’s neuroses are painted tenderly, even when he is at his most irrational. His early music obsession offers metaphors for emotions and is threaded throughout the novel, although sometimes a bit too heavily.
Eventually he gets there. But ‘there’ is not portrayed as a destination, rather Luther settles into a life where the wonton incident does not consume every moment of his day. He is able to accept the loss of his mother, and live his life. Because living is all any of us can do.