Book Review: The Mind by Gloria Foster
Today I bring you my impressions of The Mind, a novel by Gloria Foster, a game of mirrors where everything can be real or illusory at the same time. For me it has been my first approach with this author and I have had a great time reading this book. It is true that when I got this novel, I was expecting something else, but the path it has taken me has pleased me and above all, it has surprised me.
We are going to attend a reading that is not at a frenetic pace, but it is not necessary, since the author combines a plot that puzzles and that you want to know more about. The plot has an atmosphere that will make us relive the childhood of Sheila Leclaire, an investment banker who lives in Sommerville, Virginia.
Haunted by voices of events that occurred in her childhood, we find Sheila is a tenacious and we could even say obsessive woman. In Sheila's story real things are mixed, dreams, and a lot of imagination. The same author gives us the key.
The book is seasoned with an evening dose of social denunciation (no more concrete so as not to spoil, but if you have read it you will understand me perfectly) and takes place in Sommerville, which becomes a silent character.
Throughout the novel we will gradually discover the world of Sheila, all the people around her, who were not many, and how each one of them seems to tell something. And it is that the author knows how to attract attention and that you devour the story.
The plot will catch you from those first moments in which we will meet Sheila, and we will not be able to stop reading, because you think that you are going to read a couple of chapters turn into 14, since you are hopelessly trapped in that plot that Gloria has created trying to find the meaning of everything that happens.
Together with Sheila we will get to know other characters who, although they do not have a leading role, contribute important things to the story. Above all, they help us understand Sheila's personality.
From the first moment we enter a plot that takes us from one event to another. Gloria Foster gets us to devour the book, because you will want to know what is behind Sheila’s past. Through chapters titled with simple language and constant dialogues we find out about her life.
This is, broadly speaking, the premise of a novel that articulates its plot in a total of fourteen short chapters. Many of these short chapters’ end with such an unknown. In this it seems to me that this author is one of the best. And be careful, as I said, the ending is quite coherent, that is to say that it is not that complicated to find out.
Starting from these premises, the novel continues in a tight way. The writer is very skilled in gradually revealing the details that allow the reader to delve into the enigma. There is no blood, there are no serial killers and there are no monsters. Yet, the sense of unease immediately grips the reader.
The Mind has a story that hooks, not only because of the plot but also because of the way it is told, very well defined by its author that it makes it easy for you to read it. And in this book in particular it is the ravines and labyrinths of the human mind, its unpredictability, that generate in the reader the sense of estrangement.
We are constantly on the borderline that separates the rational from the irrational, sanity from madness, the most reassuring explanation from the most fearful one. Perhaps what has convinced me the most about the novel is how it is narrated.
The use of an omniscient narrator has made me distance myself a bit from the characters and see everything as a spectator. The characters, barely have outlined the lines that surround them, but in this case it is not necessary to create tension, because with the brief brushstrokes offered by each of them is enough for us to have an idea of the role they are going to play.
Of course, we must recognize that The Mind, does not have a frenetic rhythm, but does manage to keep the reader continue reading one more chapter. Drawn with a prose without frills and an agile narrative, whose tension is correctly dosed, Gloria Foster has concocted a misty story.
The plot leads us to think of a simple story, but as we move forward the doubt is forged, creating an ambiguous residue. It does not let you take anything for granted, small drops that make you believe that there is much more, the author's pen. It is simply intriguing and easy to follow but we are not talking about a light reading.
The book is characterized by being a dense reading, the kind that must be read calmly because it gives us almost invisible brushstrokes but that leave their mark. The story delves into the labyrinthine human psyche and its infinite meanders until it reaches an outcome that is far from being decisive.
Let everything sink in our mind, let it pierce us to explode at any moment. The Mind is a book with an even rhythm and an ending that leaves some unknowns undiscovered, to the reader's imagination.