I couldn’t stop at reading Kate Richard’s first book, Madness: a memoir, and began immediately I’d finished, to read her second book, Fusion, a novel, that I would say, despite the closeness of the characters, is about isolation.
So close, indeed impossible to be closer, conjoint twins, Sea and Serene, and their cousin, Wren, must deal with, not only physical isolation but a mewling pestering emotional isolation that first Wren and then the twins must unlock themselves from. For Wren it takes the experience of meeting someone to open the doors so he can walk past what has cautioned him against relationships. For the twins it requires an emotional separation from each other – to become two instead of one – before, as individuals, they can contemplate having a friendship with one another and others.
Repetition and poetic prose are used to make the score, by which I mean the text, bend and slip and pull the reader along. The sense of each character’s pain and sensitivity is like a spiky blanket that cloaks and irritates, rises and rests, jabs and soothes. Fusion is an aria about human need and survival. It teaches the reader about courage.