Likely Stories - Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
"Under the Whispering Door" is a book I had been eyeing for months because of its intriguing cover. It is written by TJ Klune, the same author who wrote "The House in the Cerulean Sea.”
The cover shows a three-story house each story being a different color. It was lopsided and looked as if it could fall at any moment. From the first few pages, I was immediately drawn into the book.
The way TJ Klune writes makes it seem as if the world around you has disappeared. You can empathize and understand the characters, even one as unlikeable as the one in the book. Wallace Price is a very egotistical and negative man. He works at a company as a businessman and fully believes that work is This the only important aspect of life. Which results in his coworkers hating him and dramatically limiting his social life. However, his sad life is cut short and he dies from a heart attack in the first chapter. Instead of appearing in heaven or going towards some "light" he witnesses his own funeral which is packed to the brim with about six people.
Within these six people, we meet a grim reaper, who is a young woman named Mei in a dashing suit. TJ Klune continues to add an interesting spin on death and the afterlife throughout this story. Mei is there to bring him to a wayside, this is the border between life and death. We now see the colorful building on the cover of the book which is"Charon's Crossing" a teashop.
Entering the teashop Wallace is frustrated and though confused; he doesn't want to admit he is dead though he phases through walls and people. However, in this shop, we meet some characters who provide Wallace with insight. First, is Hugo the owner of the shop and a ferryman. He helps people cross to "the other side" and comforts them during this difficult time. Second is Hugo’s grandfather Nelson, he is dead like Wallace. He decides to stay with his grandson to help around the cafe and becomes a mentor to Wallace. Last but not least is a ghost dog named Apollo. He helps bring companionship to everyone although he is limited to barking and trailing behind anyone walking through the shop.
Each of these characters become important to Wallace and they help him realize what matters. Especially Hugo who becomes the reason he smiles again and enjoys what little he has. When Wallace finally adjusts to being a ghost and is content to stay in this teashop he is forced to cross over within seven days. Determined, he tries to relive a life he will not regret within that week. From the beginning to the end, we witness his character grow and change.
His once pessimistic personality becomes optimistic and enjoys much more than just work. "Under the Whispering Door" has become one of my favorite books and made everyday life seem so much brighter. While telling a story of death we learn so much about the beauty of life