What Happened to Sophie Wilder by Christopher R. Beha is a puzzle of a novel. There are layers of meaning embedded in the title alone. What happened to Sophie, the narrator’s former girlfriend after she became his ex? What happened to Sophie at a moment of faith conversion? What happened to Sophie at the book’s end? The narrator and Sophie go back and forth, telling their stories and you hardly notice where this is heading. You get to the novel’s last page and realize that you as a reader are being asked to make a judgment. To weigh in. Pick your ending, but the one you pick, or the one that was real, will have everything to do with what you think really happened, or what in fact really did happen, to her at that moment that she “built her life around.” You see in an organic experiential sense how moments matter; that moments create trajectories that have everything to do with how stories end; that while we may be characters in another person’s story, the other person may or may not know or be willing to admit our real inner and outer plot line. Kudos to Beha for this compelling literary thought experiment.
[Photo: taken of midwest fall beauty.]