So, basically the book’s a murder mystery but with lots of references to the lead character’s sight loss woven in as part of that character’s everyday life, including a really good description of sight affected by RP as the opener to the book. Although sometimes a bit depressing (Joe leans heavily on alcohol and cannabis at times in the book) and also with some artistic licence (it is a novel after all) it does bring to life some of the everyday frustrations in a very accessible ‘whodunnit’ type novel. The fact that the lead character has a sight condition with the book written by someone with a sight condition does give it some additional credence in our opinion.
A few quotes from the book that we felt cleverly illustrated the everyday effects of living with RP:
‘Momentarily distracted, I had forgotten about the broken paving slab. The tip of my tubular aluminium stick wedged in the crack, driving the rubber covered handle up hard into my ribs and winding me. With crimson flashes of pain erupting through my squirming hundreds and thousands vision, I cursed Camden Council and then, as the buzzing started anew, my mobile’.
‘Having propped my stick up in its usual place, in the corner by the front door…’
‘The sun was still blindingly bright and reflecting off every available surface. My vision was reduced to incoherent blocks of glare and shadow punctured by bright flashes of iridescence that hurt’
‘I like to feel that its sombre interior tips the odds slightly back in my favour, since everyone finds themselves groping their way around its muddle of tables and chairs. Most importantly though it serves proper coffee.’
‘I tapped my way angrily to the bus stop’
‘The ability to look without needing to turn on lights becomes an advantage when you are in a house without the owner’s permission’.
‘She opened the door wordlessly and I had difficulty locating her in the dark hallway. Instinctively I put out my hand to locate her shoulder and my fingers brushed her chest, making us both shudder’
‘There’s no catharsis in an outburst prompted by your own physical degeneration; it’s more like having the valve on a pressure cooker lifted for a few seconds every now and again to prevent a catastrophic explosion.’
Although we don't want to turn our VIDA Insights into a VIDA book club we would be interested to hear from anyone who’s read this book and has anything to add or anyone who can recommend other books relating to sight loss in any way.
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