HYSTERA by Leora Skolkin-Smith
I met Leora Skolkin-Smith at the Backspace Conference in May 2012. I was intrigued by her process. She said a lot of the time she devotes to writing is spent away from her writing materials. Her stories ferment or articulate themselves while she’s lying on the coach or walking. Ms. Skolkin-Smith said, “I never go to the page unless I have something to say.” This writing mantra is evident on page one of Hystera. Her style is edgy, unnerving and forces us to engage at once with our protagonist. Lily’s honesty is so fresh and weighted I envied her insight.
And yet, the intensity may be too much for some. Truth is, I wrestled with the material early on. Not because it was hard to follow, on the contrary—it was easy and possibly too close to home.
This is a novel of introspection, not action. If the reader is not willing, or able to shine a bit of Lily’s mirror onto themselves they will miss the full impact of her journey.
Voluntarily checking yourself into a psychiatric hospital, as Lily does, is an act of desperation squared. But Lily is no weakling. It takes an enormous amount of faith to believe you can heal yourself, if given the appropriate amount of time and space from the world that has undone you.
Hystera is the bravest of tales about the strongest of heroines. Lily’s journey will remind readers of the importance of staying present and the necessity of letting go.
Embrace life’s edge with Hystera.