"In Elynia, Belczyk's lyric voice and poignant portraits reconnect us to a perpetual shelter that's closer than we'd ever imagined."
- Paul Nelson, author of A Time Before Slaughter. Order Here
Now all generations live in the storm. But the storm was not always and will not be forever. It will pass with frightening quickness when the travail is over. It is the storm of jealous time and of a suffering world marked by betrayal. The downpour encloses everything, drenches the world with its plotting image. Cleanses everything. Erodes everything. The storm wants all things for itself. It wants all names. Melts all stone. Devours all tombs. Forgets all. Its arduous beauty pours unquenchable longing into the full eyes and foolish ears and wound- like mouths of endless souls that awake in its wet. The storm is the inescapable past. The storm is the future as though it were past. It is imminent, stills sight and sound, a fury of sameness and multiplicity. Raindrops whisper an unapproachable paradise, a promise slithered out of the hissing lying arcs of drops dying.
Generation after generation persists within the storm. They make of it a communion of all times and all ruins. And the storm becomes their unity, the articulation of their one suffering. So that life and light open in the gray - a final springtide, nourished by the rain. The storm creates even as it destroys. The transfiguring rush falls back like a curtain torn in two, to the golden twilight. The low sun glows peach and rose again on stripped petals littering the ground, and wind stirs with the mist to tend its pageant train. The world crawls first, then walks, overcoming the fulcrum. Rise and walk. Come out. Draw back the horizon. From within the storm, the generations call to one another, to the wearying monuments of lives past and lives to come, to the eclipse of time, to their lost selves. They cry to unapproachable paradise:
I am calling Elynia! out from a mouth full of raindrops. The storm teems from my lips. My courage to pronounce the deluge that renders me.
- Prologue from Elynia
Elynia is about storms.
Four generations of diverse characters, intricately connected, face the private storms of their lives in each autonomous chapter of Elynia. Rich allegory and echoing metaphors permeate their intimate portraits. From this mosaic, Elynia patiently develops, initiating the reader into a story that is living and evolving: an immigrant shoe-man works his life away in a dying town to see his son wrongly arrested by a man whose shoes he shines; as a student, the son betrays the memory of his friend's departed mother by using her cherished makeup for a drunken gag; the friend marries a waitress who secretly loves another made-up man atoning for his past by refurbishing a house; a man whose paintings were rejected by his love, the granddaughter of the woman who boards the shoe-man after a fire. These and many other kaleidoscopic lives share their own unique perspectives of one true storm: the longing for an unknown and inaccessible paradise lost to the ravage of time. Incarnations of this one storm join the characters in a timeless narrative thread. The novel ends as it begins, with a restless boy and his grandmother, who shelter one another from the storm. What they have endured, and what they will become, rages inevitably just beyond the walls of their embrace.
Elynia is about time.
Its iconic characters are living in time’s illusion and assailed by time’s forgetting. They encounter the same places and monuments as generations march forward, each capturing only a semblance of who came before. Long arcs connect the characters in their search for one another and for their own identities. Some succeed; others find barely a memory of themselves. Among this milieu, only Elynia perseveres, and the reader must find out Elynia’s truth piecemeal, as we must in our own lives. The reader's search for the identity of Elynia mirrors the search for self-identity that both haunts the characters and unites them.
Elynia is about unity in suffering.
Amid the anguish that springs from its salient storms, Elynia distills a connection between all people, in their shared longings and their mutual endurance. This unity manifests in active communication between all times and places: transcendent, first-person soliloquies wrench free the beautiful hopes that live locked in the characters’ hearts—crying out their identities to the storm, to their remote loves, their entwined past, their uncertain future, or the familiar silent places that watch the procession of innumerable lives. The desperate awe of the characters expresses one resonant reality of which they are all only a part, but which they posses in full within themselves. Through this evocative dialogue, the reader is within the characters, the storm of marching time, and the eternal human howl to which they join their voices. In this way, our own endurance is joined to the storm, transforming the very cause of our suffering into the articulation of our beauty. In Elynia’s closing chapter, the young boy and his grandmother are waiting for a rainbow.