|Published Oct. 1, 2013.|
By purposefully attending to our fears during Halloween, do we hope to overcome them? How can we fight the elements that inhabit our worst nightmares?
In an effort to better guard myself against the scarier aspects of aging, I picked up a copy of The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane. Her novel asks, Can an older adult manage her own life? Or is she too frail, vulnerable, and weak? And scarier still this question: Is an older adult even incapable of perceiving her own situation accurately?
In this 241 page novel, we meet Ruth, a 75-year-old widow living with her cats in a beach house on an isolated stretch of the Australian coastline. Ruth has two sons, but they live abroad: one in New Zealand, the other in Hong Kong.
For a few years following her husband's death, Ruth has created a comfortable routine in her cozy, little beach cottage. But then one night, she senses the presence of a tiger in her home. Is something really moving around in the darkness of her home? Is it just one of her cats? Is she merely dreaming? Or is she losing her mind?