Book Talk: Flash of Life by Lani Kauten

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Lani Kauten's 25-page memoir of her brother, John, foretold an intimate chronicle of emotional ties that forged a special bond between a sister and her brother. Flash of Life is an evocative narrative that leaves the readers spellbound by the author's heart-rending discourse from happy memories to haunting nightmares.

Dreams are just dreams, they say, but my nightmares weren't just dreams—quips Lani, who starts having terrifying dreams. So bewildered, she vividly makes out her brother shrouded among the shadowy figures. She tries to reach out to find him; then, lights appear from the windows like that of a passing plane; she squints her eyes as fear looms in after seeing unfamiliar faces. Like most people who experience having strange dreams, Lani gets her share of being enveloped by obscured darkness, the breath of air sucked out from her—that awakens her, drenched in sweat as always.

Lani dreams of the same dream night after night, until that night, she finally gets hold of her brother and traces his freckled face. What further baffles her is waking up after those horrible nightmares by the hour of three every time.

Experts say that dreams are but part of our subconscious. Others call them someone's unfulfilled desires, or they could be predictions or premonitions of what is to come. On her part, Lani gets confused by the recurring dreams, so she makes some attempts to reach out to John by paying a visit to his home, calling through his phone, and sending a voice message—to keep updated on his well-being and to ease her mind hoping her waking nightmares would stop.

As she builds this poignant memoir, Lani writes a letter to John, tear-jerking messages showing her deep concern, fear, hope, love, and care. It further reflects that kind of friendship and camaraderie between siblings through the years. Readers can glean how Lani regards her elder brother as her best friend, confidant, and avid supporter. She is trying to reach out to him from the deep recesses of her soul, reminding him of their shared memories of yesteryears. The author's detailed account of their shared memories since childhood with loving descriptions is by far one of the most heart-rending experiences that could resonate well with the readers.

Lani Kauten's A Flash of Life is an emotional journey with her brother John. The author creates a loving legacy to keep her cherished memories of John alive.

Flash of Life by Lani Kauten


Publication date: ‎ July 30, 2018

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Lani Kauten grew up in Concord when it was a small town in Northern California around a tight-knit athletic family, with an open-door policy to family and friends. This encouraged a young active imagination. She and her siblings all ice-skated while growing up but fell away to different interests like football and track. Kauten stayed with ice skating the longest out of the three of them. Her father always told her to write down the tales he so anxiously waited for. Finally, she did. Kauten now resides with her family in Orange County, California.

Notes from the author

They say dreams are just dreaming, but my nightmares about my brother weren’t just dreams, and they intensified. It was when the nightmares kept me from wanting to fall back to sleep that I started writing

them down at my kitchen table, still drenched with sweat in my nightgown. Sometimes I woke my husband up screaming in fear, locked in the horror of my nightmare. While other times I woke up with a start, but always during the 3 am hour. I thought that writing down the torment I was experiencing would bring clarity and would stop the cycle of the same bad dream, but that’s not what stopped them.

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