Heart Attack Watch is a collection of moments. The one that got under my skin was Blackout- when there is a moment Leah is not where she should be, when it seems anything could have happened.. just a moment when a mother is looking for her child reminded me of all the uneasiness I felt as a mother. These stories aren’t explosive but they do hum and the writing is lovely. Blight was quietly heartbreaking. Sight, like all our senses, is easily taken for granted. The terror of losing one’s vision, and as a reader.. well.. “Halfway into a stanza, Katherine lost the line on the page. It disappeared as if into a sunspot, a blazing white corona with a dark preposition on either side. She blinked twice, and then a third time before it came back into focus.” I have migraines, the first severe one I had in England, I lost my eyesight for an hour and you just don’t think about it until it’s gone. In Katherine’s case, well… when she hears ‘irreversible’ and thinks the doctor’s look says ‘why NOT you’ it hit me. “The problem had been solved, his intellect was no longer required.” That is a coldness many patients feel when given hopeless news. Peter’s feeling of ‘there are times when you wish your anguish on someone worthier than you, someone to give the terrible scene it’s due’ took a little bite out of my heart because those who have been through their own storms have thought that, if even for a hopeless second.
This collection moves along on a silent belly and if you are still with them, it makes you think. I liken this book to slipping into a stranger’s mind on any given day and tuning into their sad moments.