What is it about novels that draws us in and makes us forget everything around us? The plot? The characters? The writing style? Is there something which reminds us of our own lives? Could it be the sheer escapism?
I love the way authors string words together to make a story. The way they intertwine lives and drama’s; and how, when I’m reading, I can hear the characters voices and see their faces and for a short while live in that situation with them. I guess that’s the thing with a good novel. That’s the thing that makes it unputdownable. Where you just HAVE to read to find out what happens next.
Then a few hundred pages later, it all comes to an end. You’ve spent time with these people. You’ve laughed with them, cried with them, and been angry with them, or at them. Then, you have to say goodbye. You close the back cover, breathe a sigh, and find that the novel is, after all, putdownable. That’s the point where I check that I haven’t missed anything. That maybe there’s a few pages stuck together, or that maybe some mean person has torn out the last few pages. Unfortunately I’m never that lucky. The story is over. I have to say goodbye.
This is where my post novel depression sets in. I feel like I’m saying goodbye to a friend or family member. Forever. Not as in death, but like they’re moving to another country (or outer space), and I’ll never be able to see them, or speak to them again. I feel sad. I walk around in a daze with the feeling that I’ve just lost something dear and precious. Usually, I’m unable to reach for another novel for at least two days after; it would be like betraying a friend.
Just yesterday, I finished reading book four in The Game of Thrones series. In book three a certain character was murdered. I remember the moment I read that- the novel was dropped onto the floor and I screamed “No!” The Caveman had one of those mini heart attacks from fright. Eventually I picked the book up and continued reading. My heart was broken and as I cried through the next few pages, I thought “this is quite stupid, crying over a novel”. I read on, mostly to find out if it was a mistake, but it wasn’t. He was gone. I had been rooting for him for so long, and now he was gone. I read book four, hoping that he’d miraculously come to life, but that never happened either. Instead, I had to say my farewells to a few more characters and find a new hero to fall in love with.
Now, I can’t seem to read anything else. I want to start on book five, but I need time to process the last one and say my goodbyes. In the meantime I might just reach for a fluffy Mills & Boon.