Sunday, September 1, 2019

"The Glass Woman"

Caroline Lea was born and raised in Jersey in the United Kingdom. She lives in Warwick, England.

Lea applied the Page 69 Test to The Glass Woman, her second novel, and reported the following:
How appropriate that much of page 69 demonstrates Jón’s suffocating control over his fearful new wife, Rósa, who is eating a meal alongside him, while horrifyingly aware of the rumours about the death of his first wife, Anna. Much of the scene depicts the way in which menace can often rest in the unspoken: “the bread is like ash on Rósa’s tongue”, while her husband “rips into” his meal. Domestic dramas often take place on a deceptively quiet stage: the kitchen and bedroom become the focal points of fear. I wanted The Glass Woman to explore gaslighting and claustrophobia, and this is certainly overwhelmingly present on page 69: Jón tells Rósa, gruffly, “You must care for yourself. Your life is important, now you are my wife.” I wanted to portray the way in which rigid control can seem, on the surface, to be love and concern.

However, page 69 doesn’t demonstrate some other crucial elements of the novel: the breathtaking ferocity of the Icelandic landscape, which may swallow a person whole; the intense terror created by Iceland’s mythology of the menacing huldufólk, the hidden people. Nor does page 69 make mention of the Icelandic witch trials, and the threat they represent to all the characters.

I love writing about the collision of public and private worlds, and the way we hide secrets from each other, and from ourselves. There’s no mention here of the mystery and menace surrounding the death of Jón’s first wife, or of the locked loft and the strange noises that so horrify Rósa. Nor does this page allude to the sweeping love stories, which ultimately imperil all of the characters.

The Glass Woman is suffused with darkness and intensity; page 69 captures some of the novel’s drama, but not its full savagery.
Learn more about The Glass Woman, and follow Caroline Lea on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue