While From Here is compelling in its exploration of the inner struggles of each character it presents, the book is not one that can be read straight through. The extreme attention to detail in each story leaves the reader begging for more, yet not quite ready to move on to the next vignette. The 265-page book may appear at first glance to be a light and easy read, but once the reader is immersed in the worlds Michalski creates, it becomes clear the material is anything but light or easy. The profoundly emotive nature of each story leaves a great impact on the reader; however, this impact can be detrimental to the reader’s motivation to move on through the book. Perhaps it is the extremely personal nature of each tale that grabs hold of the heartstrings of the reader and prevents them from being able to move on to the next story. However, this is nothing a short coffee break and a good cleansing of the mind can’t amend.
Overall, Michalski’s From Here is a powerful collection of fiction that successfully creates and explores the lives of an array of characters. So insightful and deliberately crafted is each story that the reader almost feels as if these tales are nonfictional. While each story leaves one fulfilled and greatly impacted, it is difficult for the reader to abandon the character to whom they’ve grown so attached in place of the next to come. It is for this reason the book should be read slowly and deliberately in order to truly appreciate the intricacies and emotions of each vignette.
From Here is an astounding testament to human nature and our desire to better our lives in whatever way we can. While each character is drastically different, it soon becomes apparent to the reader that they are also intrinsically the same. Their struggles, their desires, their heartbreaks, their fears all reverberate through each story as they connect even the most unlikely of characters in a way that is beautifully poetic. The greatest takeaway from this lovely compilation is that no matter the circumstance, no matter our background, no matter our perceived differences, our suffering is the same. In an age where our differences make us feel disconnected from one another, it is refreshing to see a set of stories that successfully illustrates how we can find comfort in knowing we indeed are not alone in our struggles.