I just finished another really, really good book! Mother Daughter Widow Wife by Robin Wasserman.
For some reason, Wasserman sounds like an author I’ve read multiple times, but the truth is that this is the first of her novels I’ve come across. The title drew me in immediately of course, with my penchant for murder mysteries, but that’s not what this was at all. Instead, I found myself completely pulled into an intricate story about memory, and what can happen to a person when they are no longer in possession of theirs. The author uses present and past time to her advantage in the brilliant telling of each character’s story. The voices change each time, and we get to see a time span that without, the book would not have the mesmerizing effect it does.
While this book is fiction, the condition of one of the characters is what is known as a Fugue State. One of the synapses of the book asks the reader, who would a woman become of she was untethered from her past, her obligations and responsibilities? I have to admit, it fascinated me. Think about it, how much of who you are today is a direct product of your life, past, present and future? How do your memories shape how you live? How heavily do your obligations weigh in your decisions about what you want to do day-to-day verses what you need or have to do? How much would those decisions change if you suddenly had no idea who you were, where you belonged or what your life was like? I don’t mean to romanticize the seriousness of a Fugue State. It is a dissociative state causing a person to travel away from their home and life in a state of partial or complete inability to remember one’s past or life. It is usually caused by a traumatic event or presence of an extreme stressor and can last for moments, days or longer. The reality of that is very upsetting and the portrayal of this condition was dealt with in a way that my interest and compassion was peaked and has caused me to become aware of the state, where before I wasn’t. Fiction is amazing that way, a story can be set in make believe, drawn out of a writer’s imagination but can hold so much truth so as to make the reader feel, hear, see and believe. Wasserman managed to have several characters whose voice seems as important as the next, not an east feat. While I seemed to be taken with the patient in the story, the other characters are well written and again, it was a book I did not want to reach the end of. This book is currently in hard cover, so if you’d like a copy, let us know, we can have it in your hands in matter of days.