Composed of stories that sketch the resonant heights and depths of an auto- biography, Subject to Change is a series of portraits along the road of a life well lived. Each story is an articulate, intelligent, passionate record of how an encounter with a significant “other,” be it a parent, a lover, a neighbour, a child, a grandchild, a politician or a friend, has changed and shaped the humanity, character and community—the “subject”—of the writer.
These are masterfully crafted stories: attentive to detail; conscious of the fact that our eccentricities often mask precisely what is authentic in our lives; and aware that a finely honed empathy is as likely to cause exhilaration as to cause pain. It is precisely this uncompromising empathy of Rodin’s voice that lends a sense of profound drama to the lives of the “ordinary characters” she reveals in these stories—a voice that knows how to take a measure of those characters on their own terms, to let them speak for themselves and to report on what both shakes us to the core and transports us to a place where we seem larger than ourselves.
Renee Rodin has said that: “Throughout my life I’ve had the privilege of peace and have never seen, unless in the media, the ravages of war, what people have had to live with, or die because of.” Subject to Change reminds us that the most vital moments of recognition in our lives come from those with whom we share our hopes and dreams.
It is Rodin’s masterful ability to show the reader that things we usually think of as too ordinary to talk about or too extraordinary to be able to communicate to others are often the most formative elements of our social lives that make this book such a great read.