“The Wanting Life” by Mark Vader— An Unconventional Love Story

Rader, Mark. “The Wanting Life”, Unnamed Press, 2020.

An Unconventional Love Story

Amos Lassen

“The Wanting Life” by Mark Rader is a drama about secrets and sacrifice and an American family. Set in Rome, Cape Cod, and Wisconsin during the summer of 2009, and in Rome during the spring of 1970,  this is the intertwined story of three members of the Novak family: Paul, a dying priest haunted by his past; Britta, his self-destructive sister and caretaker who is trying to find meaning in a world without her husband; and Maura, Britta’s daughter, a thirty-nine-year-old artist who’s facing a choice between her husband and two children, and the man she believes is her true love. Here is storytelling at its best. We not only get intricate psychology but also real characters and a serious exploration of faith. This is a multi-generational story that questions desire, truth, and what it means to lead a full life.

We look at what it means to deserve love and to be loved. The characters reveal the mystery and power of great love, when that love is out of reach. I found it especially relevant to me in that we read about what we lose as we age and the power and necessity of remembering and that there is always an opportunity for a different future than what we thought.

We explore the emotional costs of seeking and sacrificing romantic love though an insightful and compassionate family drama that focuses on desire, love, and what it takes to live a full life. The focus is on happiness, fulfillment, and love.

Rader uses three intertwined lives filled with longing, regret, desire, grace, and hope  as a conduit for his plot. We read of the family’s fears and secrets and we are reminded that the world is filled with lonely people and we get an understanding of the human heart in conflict with itself.

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