Book Review: What You Can See From Here

Mariana Leky’s What You Can See From Here tackles grief and the ripple effect of tragedy. This literary novel begins with an omen: Selma has dreamed of an okapi, which signals that someone in their West German village is going to die. The dream and what it brings will have a ripple effect felt in the community for decades to come.

What follows is a study in grief and the ways it never truly leaves you. Selma’s grief stems from the loss of her late husband. Though it is Selma’s dream that starts the novel off, it is her granddaughter that is the primary main character. Luisa is ten years old when Selma again dreams of an okapi, and this sign sends the village into a tailspin.

The novel builds its pace as Luisa ages, a subtle but effective tool to show how our perception of the passage of time changes with age. It is her coming of age story, and it is marked by loss, heartache, and the uncertainty that grows from a childhood marked by tragedy.

This novel has a distinct literary tilt, full of philosophical questions poised to curate deep thinking. It also contains an aptly named dog, Alaska, who inevitably brings joy to any scene he’s in. Alaska was by far my favorite character.

It’s most definitely a book to make you cry. I absolutely sobbed because of this book, and had to set it aside for a full weekend before I could forgive it enough to continue reading.

Much like grief, this story has weight. Some chapters are almost too heavy, and you have to put it down and rest to regain the strength to continue. Some chapters are full of the unique antics of the townspeople, gaffs and oddball behavior sure to illicit laughter.

What You Can See From Here will be available June 22, 2021. Thank you to NetGalley and Farrar, Staus, & Giroux for an advanced copy such that I could write this honest review.

Once again, there will be a trigger warning far below that does contain a spoiler. Please proceed with caution.










This novel contains subtle hints of child abuse, a child’s death and the grief over that child’s death. There are also adult deaths.


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