“In the middle of life’s journey, I found myself in a dark wood.” –Inferno, Canto 1
Dante’s “La Divina Commedia” speaks profoundly to the human condition. It is a chronicle of a deep psychological crisis and how that crisis is resolved. Much like Dante (the protagonist of the poem, not its author) Diego, the protagonist of CITY OF SORROWS, starts his journey to healing by slogging through the chaos of his soul and the desperation of his muddled mind.
Early on in his life journey, Diego finds himself in a forest of seemingly impenetrable darkness. After losing his wife and newborn baby in a senseless tragedy, he is angry, self-absorbed, confused, and lost. He is in the depths of his own personal hell—the lowest and darkest of places. In CITY OF SORROWS we descend with Diego into the black pit of death, follow him on his tortuous journey through grief, and ascend with him into the light of healing—understanding along with him the ultimate mysteries of love, life, and heart-wrenching loss.
Dante’s “Inferno” mirrors Diego’s journey as he travels through the self-absorption of Hell, through the Purgatory of forgiveness, and into the acceptance of responsibility that is the gateway to Heaven and the only sure foundation for healthy relationships. For Diego, profound grief turns into measured healing and finally, the rediscovery of love.
As Joseph Luzzi wrote in his book IN A DARK WOOD, “Every grief story is a love story.”
If you are grieving now it is because you have loved. There is no greater nor more painful gift than one born out of love.
To follow Diego on his traumatic but redemptive journey, read his story in my debut novel CITY OF SORROWS.
For a poignant study on what Dante the poet taught a broken man about grief, healing, and the mysteries of love, read Joseph Luzzi’s mesmerizing memoir IN A DARK WOOD.
Mr. Luzzi’s memoir of grief after the tragic loss of his wife when she was nine months pregnant with their first child is striking in its honesty and bold in its reflection of the emotional needs of a man who has lost his partner to tragedy. But as Mr. Luzzi finally came to understand, it was this incredibly difficult event in his life that finally led him back to the man he always wanted to be: a writer for the masses rather than the elite; a father and family man rather than a bachelor.
Where are you now in your own life story? If in Hell I promise you, the chaos you are living there is only the beginning—not the end of your final journey.