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Summary and book reviews of Saving Elijah by Fran Dorf

Saving Elijah

by Fran Dorf

Saving Elijah
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  • Published:
    Jun 2000, 384 pages

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Book Summary

The story of a mother's love for her son, set against a struggle with faith, big-time grief, and what it means to be human.

Psychologist Dinah Rosenberg Galligan, securely married to her college sweetheart, Sam, is hurled into a waking nightmare when their youngest child, Elijah, falls into a life-threatening coma.

Amid the technological marvels of a major medical center Dinah meets the mysterious Seth Lucien. A vain, sexy spirit with a surprising connection to Dinah's troubled past, and a master seducer's awareness of her secret fears and regrets, Seth haunts the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where Elijah dreamlessly sleeps. Claiming to know the future, he tempts Dinah with a simple deal: her son's life for the use of her body. What parent wouldn't willingly accept the trade?

Fran Dorf, a spellbinding writer of psychological suspense, pilots this Faustian tale with total assurance. Laced with unexpected humor and passion, Saving Elijahis at its core the story of a mother's love for her son, set against a struggle with faith, big-time grief, and what it means to be human.

Prologue


When the woman phoned, I couldn't place her name until she said she was Maggie's mother. Then I knew.

They'd made quite a pair at the hospital, my son and her daughter. Eight-year-old Maggie was stricken and hairless and exhausted, her ashen face steroid-bloated beyond all reason. Five-year-old Elijah, with his thick glasses and crossed eyes, looked like a weird little Martian, his red-blond curls pasted to his skull with goop, an electrode and wire bonnet attaching him to a rolling EEG machine. He giggled when he saw himself in the mirror.

"Yes, I remember now."

I stood in my darkened bedroom, the phone hot against my ear. I could hear my children's laughter like the pealing of chimes through the house. Kate, fifteen, and Alex, fourteen, were amusing Elijah with a game of tag.

"Maggie's well again," the woman whispered.

Why was she calling me? She wasn't my friend; I'd only met her that once.

"Did you hear me, Mrs. Galligan?" she said. "Maggie's ...

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Plot Summary

Psychologist Dinah Rosenberg Galligan is living every mother’s nightmare: her youngest child, Elijah, has fallen into a life-threatening coma. Faced with a seemingly hopeless situation, Dinah meets the mysterious Seth Lucien, a spirit with a surprising connection to her past. Lucien promises to help Elijah emerge from his coma but at a devastating cost: the miracle comes only after Dinah enters into a Faustian bargain; her son is saved, but her entire world begins to crumble

At its core, Saving Elijah is a gripping literary tale of a mother’s love set against a struggle with faith. Laced with humor and passion, the novel confronts a multitude of psychological and philosophical issues, from the forces that bind ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews
Wall Street Journal

Ambitious, imaginative, and beautifully done.

Glamour

Fascinating, skillful, a fiercely compelling read.

Washington Post

Wrenching and poignant. Avoids easy mysticism or psychologizing. A tough minded interrogative approach to grief.

Columbus Alive

Totally engrossing. Dorf turns the spotlight on maternal grief and exposes much of what has been mostly unspoken by those outside this sad sisterly circle. The emotions rendered here cut right to the bone. Once you experience this well written and compelling story, you will be strangely uplifted and better able to face life’s complications head on.

Publishers Weekly

[A] stunning third novel that crackles with suspense, dark humor, and provocative questions.....a spellbinding novel of psychological suspense, and meditates, with honesty and insight, on the nature of parental love and responsibility.

Author Blurb Susan Isaacs, author of Shining Through
A moving tale of a mother haunted by the grave illness of her son and by a demon from her past. But it is more a rich and compelling story of faith, grief, guilt, ghosts, God, and ultimately, hope.

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