No More Heroes by Henry Biernacki is not really a novel.
It is neither fiction nor nonfiction. It is not an adventure, nor a travel book, nor a commentary. It is more than these.
No More Heroes is a relationship, a series of conversations and reflections, in book form.
Henry Biernacki gives us a window into the connection between Suria, an eighty-year-old woman, and Niklas, a young man. Their relationship, and the book, flourishes in the way their similarities and differences fit together.
“Looking back, everything blends into one experience.”
Niklas and Suria, known to everyone as Foxybird, meet at the best sushi bar in Cupertino, California, though they have seen each other before. They met because Niklas sat next to Suria’s daughter on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco.
During the months they know each other, Suria and Niklas explore and talk about some of the deepest truths of our existence. Wisdom and naivety, youth and age, life and death wind through their conversations. They talk about love and regret, home and travel, intimacy and passion, friends and family, reading and writing, body and soul. They spend time talking and listening to each other, they eat excellent meals, they listen to silence together. They share a love of language and poetry, especially Walt Whitman. They tell each other their stories; they trust each other.
Niklas had always known he had a very bad habit of missing the beautiful things right in front of him.
Henry Biernacki explores the beautiful things right in front of him. He sees the meaning and importance of the flowers on the table, the chai and the coffee in the mugs, the line of the eyebrow. From these pieces he constructs a friendship that inspires and educates us. He gets us to pause and appreciate the wisdom of experience, the pain of loss, the possibilites of life.