Friday, March 23, 2012

The Void by Bryan Healey

She believes I am all but dead.
But I can hear her...

I've been still for many years now, my eyes closed, my body sunken, my muscles wilted, a soft, seductive beep-beep-beep of life-sustaining machinery just behind my head. I don't know why they keep me here, or why they bother to keep me alive; and yet they do. And they come and go, night and day and night, men, women, children, even an occasional pet; nurses, doctors, family, friends, strangers; they talk to me rarely, sometimes to themselves, and frequently to each other, or to no one. And they have very much to say, I have found.

They don't know that I can hear them...
But I can.

I received a preview of this book months ago and loved it, which is why I was thrilled to get a chance to review it in its entirety.

This is a heartbreaking story. It’s difficult to write about topics such as these, about sicknesses that affect entire families, but it is even more difficult to write it from the sufferer’s perspective without falling into melodrama. For me, this book’s author did a wonderful job of achieving a truthful, sensitive yet not overdone storyline. The way the book is set up helps with this, since the reader doesn’t even know why the main character, Max, is in a vegetative state. We realize it’s not nearly as important as what Max is thinking and feeling. That there are no chapters also works very well, since in the void the protagonist lives in there is no real sense of time. The characters are real to us, even though we don’t get much more that their voices, their dialogue. That takes skill to do. To make us care about people who barely do anything but talk throughout the novel.

It was a moving story to read, and though there were some repetitions, a few too many exclamation points, trivial things like that, I can easily recommend this. It is a quick read which follow you long after you finish reading it.

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