Yeah, it's a funny thing. But when I start to think about other things (like taking deep breaths, or picking up a book), the feeling goes away and I'm once more able to go on with my life. Claustrophobia can appear unbidden, even when one is standing in an open field.
So, it's rather hard to for me to read stories about people locked away against their will. It's bad enough that I learn about real-life incidents from the news. But the captive has escaped (which makes me joyful) and I know that person will write a book about her experiences...but I really don't want to read it.
As I said, claustrophobia is a funny thing.
'Gerald's Game' by Stephen King was a hard story for me to read. Imagine participating in a sex game with your partner; you're handcuffed to the headboard...and your partner suddenly dies. And there you are. No water, no food, no telephone. I read the book one time, and I'll never read it again.
Then came 'Room' by the always brilliant Emma Donoghue. A woman captured and held against her will. She has a child, and the story is told through his eyes. Such innocence did not comfort me.
Placing the reader inside the skin of the major protagonist is the mark of a talented storyteller; you feel the pain, the joy. You take each step with them, no matter how hard it is for you the breathe.
And the newest hard-to-breathe book is 'Above' by Isla Morley, whose previous novel, 'Come Sunday', left a huge impression on me. Morley is a stunning talent, and her well-drawn characters will leave their marks upon you (I. See. A. Movie.). I was so mesmerized that I couldn't put down the book.
I could go on, but I hate providing spoilers. Let's just say that I was surprised, to say the least. Like 'The Lovely Bones', this one will promote serious discussions among reading group members.
We'll let it go at that. Read 'Above'...
...and be sure to breathe.
'Above', the brilliant new novel from Isla Morley, will be published in March 2014 by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. You will be able to find it at independent bookstores and your local library.