• Robert C. Kukla

A Moving Story About Life and Death: Under The Whispering Door by TJ Klune


Under The Whispering Door by TJ Klune is a moving story that pulls at the reader’s every emotion and one that highlights some important themes about life and death.


The novel is an adult fantasy novel following our main character, Wallace, who at the start of the novel, drops dead from a heart attack. After his death, his spirit is sent to a magical tea house where he meets Hugo, his spirit guide, and a full ensemble of lovable characters.


Part of the beauty with this story comes from how whimsical the writing style is. The writing quickly welcomes you into the story and the entire reading experience can be easily described as a warm hug after a very long day. Despite the tough subject matter surrounding discussions of death, the writing never swayed from that whimsical style thus making this really easy to fly through.


Another aspect that makes this such a great read is in how well rounded Wallace is as a main character. At the start of the novel you don’t really like Wallace very much because of how abrasive he is and the way he mistreats the people around him. The novel doesn’t shy away from describing how selfish and uncaring Wallace is. But as he gets to know all the companions at the tea shop and their friendship blossoms, his hard exterior melts away and you are left rooting for him at the end.


This novel does feature a romance between Wallace and Hugo, and not once did I feel it detracted from the overall story, and in fact, it was written with such nuance and grace that at the end of the novel it brought tears to my eyes because in my opinion it reminds you of the appreciation you have for your own significant other or what you hope to have one day in a partner if you are single.


The novel also handles the topic of death with that same nuance and grace. It explores death in different forms including death by suicide, death of a child and a few others. The way the story handles these themes really made me aware of my loved ones who have passed away and gave me the hope I needed to believe they are in a safe place.


I can go on and on about how much this story meant to me but overall I just left the book feeling tremendous comfort and I highly recommend this if you need something on the more comforting side.


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