In 2011 New York, Rachel is one step away from becoming invisible. Half a century earlier, confined in the clean, white walls of a mental hospital, Anna wishes she could be.
Rachel and Anna’s lives are woven together—one desperate to be seen, to find out who she is in the bright sunlight of New York and the dark shadows of her family history, and one frantically trying to sort reality from the fantasy in her head, to be known as a person before she’s lost to dull hospital labyrinths and the sharp tang of medicine on her tongue. Figurines is a deep exploration of self, of family, of mental illness, and the thin line between invisibility and nakedness. Between desperation and madness.
Plot/Idea: Figurines is a poignant and gripping novel that focuses on loss, love, and mental illness. Boud tells the story in chapters with alternating points-of-view, each detailing Anna and Rachel's experiences. It may take readers some time to understand the dynamics and relationships between the characters. Both women's lives emerge as profound and lonely.
Prose: This prose is clearly crafted and is quite literary in style. Though the author identifies as male, he depicts women's emotions and mindsets with nuance and realism.
Originality: Stories of institutionalized mentally ill individuals are familiar. Nevertheless, Anna and Rachel's circumstances come across as original and memorable.
Character Development/Execution: The characters in Figurines are genuine, nuanced, and evoke empathy from readers.
Date Submitted: April 18, 2022
Figurines contains all the visual hallmarks of a high-quality novel, including striking artwork, professional design, and impeccable copyediting. Boud’s day job is as an artist and designer, and his talent shows.The true measure, of course, is the writing. Boud shines there, as well. His use of sensory description evokes emotion and draws the reader deep into the complex story. Events from the past are slowly and expertly revealed to the reader, in first-person by two narrators who become more engaging, authentic, and tragic with each chapter.Historical and literary fiction readers will appreciate this exploration into the many facets of love, loss, family, isolation, and mental illness.