“beautiful prose” “a realistic portrait of PTSD”
When I met Natalia Sylvester on Twitter (@NataliaSylv) four years ago and first read her blog, my immediate thought was, “This is a writer to watch. Big things are in her future.”
Natalia’s blog posts, from the start, were poetic and laced with beautiful metaphor. And they still are. (It’s not easy to silently weave metaphor into a piece and have the reader not even know she’s reading it until the very end).
So it comes as no surprise that her debut novel CHASING THE SUN, based in part on a kidnapping within her extended family, held the same captivating metaphor. This time the metaphor about light and darkness: the comfort of it, the fear of it. What struck me most about this book was the author’s ability to paint a realistic portrait of PTSD.
An example of the beautiful prose from the book:
“She turns her back to the mirror and looks over her shoulder. If she hugs herself, she can see ribs protruding through her skin. She taps them like they’re the keys of a piano, her fingers stepping gently over the deep gaps between each bone. She has never felt so small, so shrunken into herself, while at the same time heavy with everything her body has held on to. It tells a story she never wants to hear again.”
I never really considered what a person must go through after a kidnapping. How her sense of safety would change so dramatically, how the once-normal, everyday surroundings would become sinister, filled with fear. In the characters of Andres and Marabela, we see an imperfect marriage before the abduction. We see reality. We journey with them and ask: will their marriage make it? Can they find happiness again, even after the darkness?
(Original version of this piece published at GoodReads on May 18, 2015 by Melissa Crytzer Fry. Reposted here with permission of the post author. )