How far would you allow a stranger to question your life?
Disconnected, arrogant, and a little too fond of scotch, Simon drifts through the routines of his day, garnering the praise that sustains him. A knock on the office door interrupts the uniformity, when a complete stranger throws his world into question. He faces a choice: disengage from the conversation or see where her words take him.
Wrapping a narrative around fourteen wisdom tales from around the globe, When It Matters Most explores how our framing of relationships, grief, and purpose impacts our own experience and the lives of those around us.
Drawing on a background in corporate leadership, mediation, and religious thought, Keven Fletcher works as a storyteller and mentor within a globally diverse, academic community.
Reviews and Book Club Questions
“When It Matters Most is a rare achievement. Keven Fletcher creatively weaves a quilt of traditional stories and tales into an inspirational and united opus of learning, love, and life. A true treat to read.”
Author of The Purpose Effect and Flat Army; Chief Envisioner, TELUS
“If there were a genre beyond ‘self-help,’ that’s the aisle where When It Matters Most should be found. Keven Fletcher masterfully weaves a set of traditional stories into a single narrative of human connection – with self, with others, with the universe. Though the tales tap insights from across ages and continents, the deep wisdom that unifies this short gem is the most compelling of all.”
Author of Breaking into the Heart of Character and Interfaith Understanding (with Michele Israel); Former Executive Director, Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education
“As a busy corporate Executive and working mother, I loved reading When It Matters Most. It made me pause and deeply reflect on the things that most matter in one’s life. It also reminded me to be mindful about the personal narratives I attribute to colleagues or friends and to truly look at who they are rather than my perception of who they are.”
Executive Director, Investec Investment Institute; Former Director and Head of Africa, World Economic Forum
“Mystical, intriguing and like a wise friend you’ll always want to draw on – in good times and bad – When It Matters Most offers gentle guidance, subtle humour, a shoulder to cry on, and a reminder of what really matters.”
Author, Negotiating with Giants; Corporate and Government Advisor; Managing Director, NAI
“Immensely recognisable, stirring, and comforting, When It Matters Most is the gift of having one’s own Ghost of Christmas Present, offering wisdom without judgement. A beautiful story that will resonate with anyone, no matter their stage of life, it reminds us how to engage with the world in a way that brings out the beauty in our everyday.”
Senior Consultant, Holker Watkin Limited
“Although rooted in the ancient and timeless wisdom stories from the world’s major religions, When it Matters Most will seem familiar to a great many readers. In this well-crafted novel, the main characters evoke admiration, pity, reverence, laughter, and compassion as we watch them engage with the everyday struggles of family, work, addictions, grief, and the desire – often latent – for a connection to some larger community. This book will appeal to readers with an interest in matters both mundane and mystical.”
Author of Spirituality in Hospice Palliative Care (with Harold Coward); Director, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria
“In times of grief and loss it can be easy to lose the thread of our story, to lose our way. Storytelling can be a bridge to healing, revaluing and new possibilities in our lives. Elegant and powerful, When It Matters Most, is one such bridge.”
CCC Counsellor, University of Victoria
“A cynical, whiskey-drinking Simon grapples with the meaning of life in this suspenseful, mysterious novel. Through his struggles in When It Matters Most, we’re reminded that everyone has a story and we should take nothing for granted. Extraordinary and delightful.”
Chris Considine, QC
Lawyer, Special Prosecutor; Honourable Consul General of Nepal
“Through fourteen, beautifully contextualized wisdom tales, When It Matters Most drew me to reflect on my own life and experiences. This charming book affirms how what we truly need often presents itself through the most unlikely sources – if we are only open to it.”
Past Board Chair, Our Place Society (an outreach to Greater Victoria’s most vulnerable citizens)
“When it Matters Most offers very simple yet fulfilling answers to some of the biggest fears that millennials feel today: loneliness, anxiety, pessimism about the future. For all of us preoccupied with seeking success at whatever the cost, the stories from this short novel present another perspective on the life values that we should subscribe to. These are the stories that I want to pass down to my children one day.”
Tom Macintosh Zheng
LL.B. Candidate – King’s College London; Entrepreneur
“The search for meaning in life, or for a life of meaning, is a universal human journey. Keven Fletcher’s unique method of forming a narrative around stories of wisdom begin to shed some light on that path. Once you start reading, you won’t be able to sleep until you’ve finished the last story. Sleep consolidates learning: You will wake up wiser the next day.”
Author of The Driver’s Manual for Your Adolescent Brain and Your Fantastic Elastic Brain; Psychologist, Educator, Speaker; The Deak Group
“With a charming, anecdotal tone that inspires us to live our lives full of joy instead of judgement, hope instead of fear, and above all, reverence for our fellow people journeying through life together, When it Matters Most greets death with life’s greatest questions, “What will my life mean, how will I be remembered, and what really matters?”
Writer of Drifter; Musician/Song Writer at BMG Music
Hear’s a sampling of questions that might come in handy for a book club meeting.
If you’re in my neighbourhood (or in range of my travels), I’d be happy to join you.
Which of the wisdom stories best fit your own understanding of how to approach life? How did it connect to your experience?
Which wisdom story caused you pause? What was it about the story that challenged your thinking?
How would you describe Simon’s character at the outset? To what degree would you want him in your life? If you were to offer him a word of guidance, what would it be?
At what point do you feel that Simon changed his approach to life? What was it about the moment that made it more significant than those that came before?
Of those with whom Simon dealt (either in the process of dying or after their death), who most captured what you need in your life right now? Which offered a warning?
What did you make of the strangers who moved in and out of Simon’s life? Who were they? How far would you allow a stranger to question your life?
How do you feel about the switch between first person and third throughout the novel? What purpose did the shift between Simon’s perspective and the narrator’s serve?
If you were able to add an actual person (alive or deceased) from your own life to interact with Simon on his journey, who would you choose? What word of wisdom might people draw from this additional voice?
What notion from the book would you most like to bring into your own life? How might the wisdom stories support you in such a shift?