Natural Flights of the Human Mind, by Clare Morrall, is a novel that takes us through the mind of Peter Straker. He has chosen to isolate himself by living in a lighthouse on the coast of Devon, England. He is an introvert and a recluse by choice, and doesn’t speak to anyone, until he meets Imogen Doody.
Imogen/Doody is an aggressive and disagreeable woman who has inherited a deteriorating cottage from a godfather she never knew. She is a school teacher, and used to being in control of her life. When Straker offers to help her fix the cottage up, she resists. They both harbor painful pasts.
Straker’s past consumes him, as he believes he has killed 78 people, almost 25-years ago. He handles the after-effects through silence, speaking only to the voices of the dead people that appear in his dreams. Doody’s past consumes her, as she believes her husband up and left her, without leaving word where he went.
They handle their pain in different manners. Yet, the result is the same, as each closes themselves off to the external world (one through silence, and the other through an obnoxious and brash attitude). Morrall brings to the surface the mindsets Peter and Imogen/Doody are trying to cope with in a masterful manner.
It is a complex novel, yet its complexity only serves to enhance the issues and inner turmoils the two of them are harboring. The story line illuminates their coping skills and ability to move through every day life. Morrall’s sense of psychological and social isolation is strong within the pages.
Clare Morrall’s book, Natural Flights of the Human Mind, is often poignant, dealing with the issues of guilt, loss, pain, tragedy, and redemption, and the roads one travels in order to heal themselves.