Book Review: Escape by Zoje Stage | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh

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Photo: Courtesy of Alyssa Persons

cover run away Zoje Stage

run awayA new novel by Pittsburgh writer Zoje Stage is a psychological thriller that puts its protagonist and its readers in the heart of the Grand Canyon, a place that is once described as an awe-inspiring beauty and a sharp death trap.

But while it was taking place in the Grand Canyon, it handled the tree of life shooting when 11 congregations were killed in a determined synagogue on October 27, 2018 in the Squirrel Hill district of Pittsburgh. As an anti-Semitic hate crime that takes advantage of the stage struggle to do.

Stage says he wrote this as the first scene in her book as a way to handle what happened.

“Even now, when you climb up to Squalel Hill, there are still trees and the Star of David hanging from the parking meter,” says Stage. The last month. I understand why they were there. They were a very respectful sign and people really supported the community. But for me, it was an opportunity to see it. ”

This novel follows our main character, Imogen. Imogen is a writer who fell into a slump in the second year of a novel in the second year. Imogen was asked by her sister, Beck, and her estranged friend Tilda to travel to the Canyon after surviving a traumatic event.

In the first page of run away, I realized I was already in an uneasy place. The traumatic event in which Imogen survives is essentially a fictitious version of the tree of life shooting, with moments that set it apart from the events of the day, but in general it is explained fairly closely to the tragedy. I am.

Start-up run away This poses a problem for me as a reader. When creating a storyline based on actual events, there is a risk that the fiction created as a writer will collide with reality. The rest of the book, the horror it tries to create, the horror and horror, are all pale compared to the actual events on which it is based. I was trapped in the memory of October 27, 2018 and couldn’t get out of it and dig deeper into the rest of the book.

The book’s synopsis and teaser states that when Imogen, Beck, and Tilda arrive in the canyon, they realize they’re not the only ones. I wondered what they encountered because it drove me halfway through the book where they encountered what they were following.

I was wondering, is it something supernatural? Is it an ax murderer? Is it a wild animal? All these possibilities ran through my head until I met a man named Gale, the villain of the story. Gail has followed women on most trips. What looks like an encounter with a seemingly harmless but unwelcome guest is a complete battle for their lives.

Gail was found to have fled the police after being pulled for regular traffic outages and shooting dead police officers. Part of his motive is to avoid returning to jail, others are trying to meet his daughter. He reaches the canyon on his way to her and begins a deadly tug of war between him, Imogen, Beck and Tilda.

Of all the women, Imogen seems to be the most sympathetic to Gale when she hears him. Despite he always calling Tilda a “Mexican” and using a homosexual slur to point to Beck, Imogen says the American criminal justice system eats people alive, reforms, changes, and grows. It states that it leaves no room for.

The stage describes her approach to writing Gale as trying to make Gale more than a monster.

“My real pleasure in writing a novel is that there is an overtly evil character. This character seems to be a person who can never sympathize. And when I try to create them layered. , “Oh, there are moments like,” Oh, this person may not be 100% evil, “says Stage. “And when we write down someone as a particular way, it’s a completely different perspective from what that means. If we knew them at a more intimate level, we would do them. And I think Imogen is sometimes related to the nature of her imagination and the way she works, but she goes outboard a bit trying to feel a connection with him. increase.”

I love good, complex characters. But something about Gale’s characterization wasn’t right for me. Imogen struggled to see him as a human being, but in the end, it’s just the Boogeyman that women meet to become stronger. Maybe as a reader, I’m as naive as Imogen who wants to see the humanity of someone, especially someone who is a victim of the criminal justice system. But all the moves Gale makes seem to deviate from the character of someone who doesn’t want to go back to jail. From shooting a policeman to holding three women hostage, when he was able to visit his daughter and granddaughter doing what he was trying to do, he made things categorically worse for himself. I did.

Suffering from being a survivor of this shooting, Imogen is also traumatized by the secrets she has kept for years. It gradually became clear that what she still calls “The Thing” was a sexual assault in college by Tilda’s boyfriend at the time. “The Thing” surprised Imogen so much that she couldn’t even call it what it was until her sister Beck brought it out in the canyon.

As a reader, I couldn’t help wondering why sexual assault wasn’t traumatic enough for Imogen. Why did she have to be a survivor of the shootings and a victim of sexual assault? If I wanted to make Imogen a survivor of something else, did I need to evoke the shooting of the Tree of Life?

It’s true that people can survive multiple traumatic events in life, but in novels and movies I’m strong and have by letting the female protagonist go to hell and “strengthen her.” It is common to make people realize that they are capable. Finally, I wondered how much of Imogen’s suffering was needed.

I had some problems completing the book, but I have to give her flowers to the stage for prose, especially when approaching the end of the novel. The final battle scene between Imogen and Gale is ghostly and eerie. In the case of a book that I thought lost me, the scene really pulled me back.

Stage says the scene is still crawling on her skin and considers it one of the most disturbing things that happens in the book.

run away Partly about the evil that men do and the victims they leave behind. Seeing men in power doing harm to women over and over again, especially to women, is a powerful and necessary quest.

run away It’s definitely a thriller, but as the stage says, many psychological games are played, especially with women spending most of their books with prisoners. You are wondering when and if they will be free.

After all, I remembered a horror movie. I’m having a hard time sitting with myself and want to fast forward because of discomfort. Stage is a talented writer who knows how to make the world and appreciates her adding complexity to her character, but in the end the book gets stuck in the first few pages. I think you are doing it. If you want to know the evils they encounter, you’ll read more, but Canyon villains aren’t as scary as the Canyon itself, or the actual event on which the first few pages are based.

Book Review: Escape by Zoje Stage | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh

Source link Book Review: Escape by Zoje Stage | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh

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