The Gate - Things my Mother told me.

Rated 5.00/5 based on 14 reviews
The Gate draws you in with subtlety, wit, compassion and faith. An intriguing and captivating look at the last sixty years of western culture that holds you even though we all know how her story is going to end. It will be of particular interest to people who experienced Alzheimer's or Dementia in their immediate family.

"This is a jewel of a piece of writing…" [Kate Jones, USA] More

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About Stan I.S. Law

Stan I.S. Law (Stanislaw Kapuscinski), architect, sculptor and prolific writer was educated in Poland and England. While there, he also played concert violin, and studied opera at the Guildhall School of Music.

Since 1965 he has resided in Canada. His special interests cover a broad spectrum of arts, sciences and philosophy. His fiction and non-fiction attest to his particular passion for the scope and the development of human potential. He authored more than thirty books, eighteen of them novels.
Under his real name he published seven non-fiction books sharing his vision of reality. His non-fiction books can be found at:

As an architect [RIBA, MRAIC, OAQ ret.] he designed a number high rise buildings in Montreal, including Regency Hyatt Hotel (now Delta), Place Mercantile, Headquarters for the Mutual Alliance, as well as a number of low and middle rise structures for private clients. In the National Capital he was the associate in charge of design of Royal Bank Headquarters on Sparks Street.

His novels include:

NOW—Being and Becoming
One Just Man (Winston Trilogy Book I)
Elohim—Masters and Minions (Winston Trilogy Book II)
Winstons' Kingdom (Winston Trilogy Book III)
Yeshûa—Personal Memoir of the Missing Years of Jesus
Peter and Paul—Intuitive sequel to Yeshûa
The Avatar Syndrome (prequel to Headless World)
Headless World—The Vatican Incident (Sequel to Avatar Syndrome).
The Princess
Alec (Alexander Trilogy Book I)
Alexander (Alexander Trilogy Book II).
Sacha—The Way Back (Alexander Trilogy Book III).
The Gate—Things my Mother told me.
Marvin Clark—In Search of Freedom.
Enigma of the Second Coming
Gift of Gamman
Wall—Love, Sex, and Immortality (Aquarius Trilogy Book I)
Pluto Effect (Aquarius Trilogy Book II)
OLYMPUS—Of Gods and Men (Aquarius Trilogy Book III)

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Review by: Patrick Johnson on May 13, 2015 :
If you suspect that you’ll ever reach old age, read this book. Although you know, or at least suspect, how it’s going to end, you’ll learn a lot how to get to that final segment of your journey through life.

And yet this novel, which sounds very much like the author’s personal experience, is filled with humor, love and compassion, as well as profound knowledge of an elderly lady from which we might all benefit.

This is a novel you can’t afford to miss.
(reviewed 3 years after purchase)
Review by: Jo Steinman on May 13, 2015 :
I didn’t expect to enjoy this novel. An old woman going through the final stages of her life does not sound like good entertainment. I read is only because I like other novels written by Stan Law. I was surprised. The Gate drew me in, held my attention—often I couldn’t put it down. At other times I wiped my tear of laughter.

This man can write!
(reviewed 3 years after purchase)
Review by: Fred Schäfer on April 11, 2015 :
I’ve read several novels by Stan I.S. Law, aka Stanislaw Kapuscinski. They all, without exception, deserved five stars. This one, however, deserves more – FIVE PLUS. I can’t recall that I’ve read in recent years a book that had a greater impact on me. For a start, the book reads like a biography about the last years of the author’s parents. I don’t know to what extent this may or may not be the case. If it is the case, even only to some extent, I have to admit I envy the author for the family environment in which he grew up. This would have been an environment dominated by love, by a deep sense of mutual acceptance and by stimulating conversations of an intellectual, philosophical and spiritual nature.
As we read this novel we experience initially in an honest and unsentimental way the journey of a man in his nineties towards his end. He suffers from Alzheimer’s. On reflection, he does not actually “suffer”. He lives with Alzheimer’s, which is not the same as “suffer”. The old man and his ten year younger wife, Mrs. Kordos, spend their remaining years in the Institute of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Mrs. Kordos is around eighty at the beginning of the novel. She is also the mother of the first person narrator of the novel. His name is Steven. Apart from the people already mentioned, there are another three central characters in “The Gate – Things My Mother Told Me”. They are a female nurse, a male nurse and a retired priest. Other interesting characters in the novel, albeit playing minor rolls, are the narrator’s younger wife and his brother.
Throughout the novel, the real protagonist is Mrs. Kordos. Apart from brief flashbacks to her youth, we get to know her at around the age of eighty and accompany her on her final journey through life.
What a woman! She is a highly intelligent and deeply religious lady. Her son Steven, a man of brilliant intelligence, is a very spiritual man. To him to find answers to questions about life, death, life after death, free will and other deeply philosophical topics, he rejects the Catholic teachings. He knows The Bible from cover to cover, but he is also very familiar with the famous books of the other great religions. His interpretations of the truth contained in these books, in comparison to his mother’s understanding of the truth as taught by the Catholic Church, forms an enormously fascinating and ongoing part of the novel’s narrative. There is a lot of subtle humor sprinkled into these philosophical discursions. They are presented in a down to earth manner and they are made even more interesting – more mysterious, one could say – by the input provided by the above mentioned male nurse, Raphael.
The second half of the novel deals increasingly with the topic of death and dying. We go together with the narrator’s mother on her final journey. Again, in an unsentimental and often humorous way, interspersed with intelligent wittiness, we identify ourselves with an unforgettable lady in her nineties for who the problem is not dying, her real problem is that she is still alive, when really she thinks she should be dead. Her reflections in this context – discussions with her God, I am inclined to say – are of such a deeply moving nature, I can’t imagine that I will ever forget them.
But please don’t think I gave away too much of the story. There is so much more going on. What I told you above is just the framework. The events between one of the nurses and the retired priest are full of suspense and just brilliant. They reveal so much about our human nature and conditioning, you can’t help but reflect on it in the context of your own life.
I wish I could come across more books of the nature and quality of “The Gate – Things My Mother Told Me”. This is a novel I highly recommend, a book that deserves to be read by millions of people. (Reviewed by Fred Schäfer, author, and posted by his literary double, Johann David Renner.)
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Patrick Johnson on April 11, 2015 :
It’s been a while since I read this book. And then, last week, I read it again. It’s that good. If you suspect that you’ll ever reach old age, read this book. Although you know, or at least suspect, how it’s going to end, you’ll learn a lot how to get to that final segment of your journey through life.

And yet this novel, which sounds very much like the author’s personal experience, is filled with humor, love and compassion, as well as profound knowledge of an elderly lady from which we might all benefit. I know I did. I suggest so will you.

This is a novel you can’t afford to miss.
(reviewed 3 years after purchase)
Review by: Sylvester Drake on March 21, 2015 :
I was faced with circumstances similar to those described in this novel. Had I read it before the fact, I would have found it much, much easier to cope with the challenges of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. I thank the author for this novel. I helped me to understand what I just went through from the perspective of an outsider. In retrospect, I would have found the laughter that was missing in my case. It was there, I just didn’t see it.
The book will help all who must cope with the aged needing help. Read it. It will probably help you.
(reviewed 3 years after purchase)
Review by: Amy Taylor on April 6, 2014 :
The Gate: Things My Mother Told Me is a beautiful memoir and an exceptional experience of a lady, Mrs. Kordos, meeting with her own mortality through the face of Alzheimer’s.

Author Stan I.S. Law brings us the story Mrs. Kordos, written from her perspective. In the spirit of love and mindfulness she records her experiences and guidance. We learn of the love affair between her and her husband Jan, (Whom affectionately refers to her as Mimi, a Puccini reference). We learn of the love and relationships with her children. We learn her thoughts and feelings on a variety of subjects all with keen interest and profound insight. It comes with a raw honesty that is not only striking but captivating. As we read these private thoughts and emotions we are filled with so many of our own feelings and insights.

The dialogue is beautifully composed with humor and seriousness conveying with perfect fluidity the gravity of each moment. To experience something so real, moving and meaningful is a gift. I highly recommend it!
(reviewed 34 days after purchase)
Review by: Barbara Woolfe on Dec. 6, 2013 :
The book is a jewel among books dealing with old age. It offers food for thought, wisdom, love, tears, and laughter. If you feel you’ll ever reach an old age, or will look after a loved one who does, this book is a must read. It will help you along, and offer you hope.

Don’t miss this literary jewel
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
Review by: D Piecuch on March 20, 2011 :
This was the first Stan Law book that I read, and I have become an instant fan. Law's tale about old age and retirement homes takes takes us on both an intellectual and spiritual journey, and it is a wonderfully enlightening read.

Throughout this tale of an aging Polish wife and mother who struggles to understand her own mortality and those of her friends and loved ones, Law teaches us about life, love, friendship, loneliness, religion, etc.

The author is obviously a scholar in many of the topics noted above which he presents throughout the book in strikingly detailed narratives, yet he draws the reader in, then lets them form their own conclusions on the information presented, rather than forcing his opinions on the reader.

While at times a very challenging read, it takes us on a great journey that leaves us better at the end of the book then we were before we started.
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
Review by: Marlon (Marvin) D. Clark on Dec. 13, 2010 :
I came late to the Stan Law roster. Now I have to catch up on all his books, fiction and non-fiction alike. I dare say this happens to most people who discover this author. Aren’t we lucky!

The Gate is a jewel in its own right. Not only does it speak volumes of the courage of the senior citizens, our parents, who are prone to acquire diseases which seemed destined to invade old age, but it paints a wonderful image of a family determined not to give up, but to find peace, joy, laughter and even adventure—in circumstances under which most of us probably give up trying. Yet, page after page, the book reads more like a biography than a novel. Who can tell? Quite wonderful…
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
Review by: Bohdan Czytelnik on Dec. 10, 2010 :
I read a book about Alzheimer’s and dementia. It was factual, educational, dry. This novel places the gradual deterioration of human mind in the context of everyday life. Somehow it makes that that is incurable—acceptable; it even elevates it to a higher level of human condition. The book is not about suffering, but about the abundance of love, joy, pleasure, yes, even humor, that one can experience under the Democlesian sword of the unforgiving diseases. Extraordinary!

This is a book that everyone must read. Young and old. You never know…
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
Review by: BozenaH on Dec. 8, 2010 :
I read The Gate in paperback when it first came out on the Amazon. I gave my copy to a friend, who passed it on… Now I had a chance to read it again on my Sony. It is hard to believe that it’s fiction. The people, the images, the emotions are so very real. You’ll love it. You’ll probably re-read it too.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
Review by: Hanna K. Loda on Dec. 2, 2010 :
It seems to me that everything Stan Law writes deserves 5 stars! This story is beautiful, nostalgic, sentimental, yet filled with hidden humor. I read it, cover to cover, then reread various passages, which had particular impact on my own life. Yes, you will not only enjoy this book, you will learn from it. A lot!
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
Review by: Anetta Bach on Dec. 1, 2010 :
This book will make you think, cry, smile, and laugh outright. And then leave you sorry it’s finished…
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Adam Kerry on Dec. 1, 2010 :
Five stars for the Gate - Things my Mother told Me. There is nothing I can say that could rise above “the classical grandeur and poetic beauty” (as stated in an Amazon review) that defines this book. What I also like about this book are the frequent injections of unexpected humor. Mrs. Kordos is a most unforgettable character. Read it.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)

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