This afternoon I read the last sentence of Inside by Alix Ohlin and I am still upset that I didn’t make it last a little longer – if only I paused once in a while or maybe read a few chapters slower we would have had more time together…
When Grace, a highly competent and devoted therapist in Montreal, stumbles across a man in the snowy woods who has failed to hang himself, her instinct to help immediately kicks in. Before long, however, she realizes that her feelings for this charismatic, extremely guarded stranger are far from straightforward.
At the same time, her troubled teenage patient, Annie, runs away and soon will reinvent herself in New York as an aspiring and ruthless actress, as unencumbered as humanly possible by any personal attachments. And Mitch, Grace’s ex-husband, a therapist as well, leaves the woman he’s desperately in love with to attend to a struggling native community in the bleak Arctic. We follow these four compelling, complex characters from Montreal and New York to Hollywood and Rwanda, each of them with a consciousness that is utterly distinct and urgently convincing. With a razor-sharp emotional intelligence, Inside poignantly explores the manifold dangers and imperatives of making ourselves available to, and indeed responsible for, those dearest to us.
After I closed the book I had to mentally go through the plot over and over again. I wanted to relive the story, learn more about the characters, and ponder over how connected Grace and the other main characters were. I love how important each character was to Grace’s life and how she affected theirs. It’s incredible when you think about how YOU affect the life, the story of someone else. You are connected to them in this intangible and yet permanent way – you are forever inside them, apart of their history.
That is my favourite line from this novel. Why? I pictured Tug’s words written on the floor, Grace reading and trying to decipher them. Tug, ever the silent man, letting his words bleed onto the floor – like a path leading Grace to something more. This trail of words is his promise. If she follows there will be more words, he will let her inside.
Of course if you haven’t read the book you have no idea what I’m talking about. What I’m trying to get at here is that Grace and Tug taught me how powerful words can be. Thoughts and secrets are just words left unspoken or not written down. When you release them, they become powerful.
When you let people inside, your words can make a difference
- even just for the moment.
** Synopsis above from the House of Anansi website **