Thursday, 9 November 2017

'Hold My Hand and I'll Take You There'

This story in Impostor Syndrome left me a tad puzzled. What is it about, and where does the imposture occur? Ralph Robert Moore's tale is a moving, clinically precise account of two lives that could, should, and perhaps did in some sense intersect. It is arguably a story about the What Ifs of life, and in this case love. The title, I think, is a clue. It's a beautiful song, but it is sung by star-crossed lovers parted by death. The story told here is (in its way) beautiful but death casts its shadow over all.

We begin with Noah, a small boy who gets seriously ill. As we're in America his parents have to pay vast sums for his leukaemia treatment, but it seems to be failing. Noah's illness drives his parents apart, adding to his suffering. Meanwhile a young woman called Audrey is suffering from increasingly severe mental illness, one that isolates and almost destroys her. But one day, undergoing yet another bout of treatment, Audrey sees a TV news item about Noah...

Does Noah survive, grow up to become a caring, strong person? Does he meet and marry Audrey? Is there marriage long, difficult, and yet the best - in its way - that either could have hoped for? Or is their life together a kind of hybrid fantasy of two people adrift on the wilder shores of reality? I've no idea, but it's a damn good piece of writing. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually. Almost sure.

Approaching the end of the anthology! So far I have not disliked a single story. Will I get to the end of this running review with nothing serious to complain about? Watch this space, don't touch that dial, and so forth.

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