Don Michael writes in a simple, smooth style that I found to be relaxing and soothing. It is simple in the sense that Michael’s efforts to be concise make his writing style look easy, although as an author myself, I know it is not simple. Furthermore, he has the distance not to be overly emotionally involved in his characters, although he is obviously fond of them; he steps back and always sees the bigger picture his characters are grasping to see.
The peacefulness that permeates this book is rare to find in modern literature, and it is difficult to describe. It is like reading Evelyn Waugh, with his twists and irony in A Handful of Dust, but without the angst and still a touch of his humor. It also reminds me of the metaphysical grace of Edward Bulwer-Lytton in his very best book Zanoni. And while the story lacks the outlandishness of Voltaire’s Candide, it retains that sense that we live in the best of all possible worlds. As one of the characters says toward the end of The Prodigal Housekeeper, “I don’t think any of us have really achieved goodness; we are learning to be who we really are, and we all have some past actions that were bad. Life," he goes one, "involves taking a few risks and making a few mistakes now and again; it is a struggle and we must keep struggling. You are doing just fine.” Despite what the characters endure, in the end, all is right with the world.
I have found, now a couple of weeks after first reading The Prodigal Housekeeper, that the book’s characters and its message have remained with me, giving me much to mull over since I finished it. Don Michael is a British novelist, but his themes are of universal interest. Books like this one can make their readers more thoughtful and in tune with themselves. I would like to read more of this author’s work.
For more information about Don Michael and The Prodigal Housekeeper, visit the book's website.