Still Life

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Joy Fielding’s “Still Life”, published in 2009, explores an intriguing variation on the theme of reality TV.  Of course, the trouble with actual reality TV is that it’s 100% TV and very little reality.  Working hard to suspend disbelief, it’s possible to imagine that you’re watching people who think that no one is watching, when actually you know that they know that they’re being watched at all times, and by the more people the better as far as they’re concerned.

But suppose that you were lying in a hospital bed, thought to be in a coma but actually able to hear everything that is said around you.  What sorts of things might you learn about the people who visit you as they talk to each other as if you weren’t there and as they talk to you, assuming that you can’t hear or understand them?  You might learn that the accident that nearly killed you wasn’t an accident, and you might even find out who arranged it to look like one.  But what’s the use of all this information if you can’t do anything about it?

That’s the predicament in which Casey Marshall finds herself.  The worst of it is that the person who wanted to kill her still wants her dead, and since she can neither move nor speak, finishing the job should be easy.

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