I’m sure this must happen to so many people; you read a book which makes a terrific impact on you, and you remember it for years… unfortunately you borrowed it from a library, and it was at a time when it was not so easy to buy books which were not in bookshops, and unfortunately, although you loved it and remember so much about it… you cannot remember either the title, or who write it.
A book I remember is by an American author and set in the States, probably in the fifties; it is narrated by a man who has a sister who has some sort of crisis, and wears a mask. The mask is like a proper animal face, so she looks like the creature… now was it a wolf, or was it a bear? I think it was a bear. When she is wearing the mask she is happy and funny and brave and sexy, she is popular and surrounded by people at parties. She cannot cope with life without the mask, and gradually has to wear it more and more often. Her brother who is telling the story is very concerned about her, but unable to help her as she becomes more and more disturbed by the two sides of her personality, the real her as she feels with the mask on, and something less without it. The story ends tragically when she goes out skiing through a forest at night wearing the mask, and is killed when she crashes into the trees.
Such a strange story, I can’t forget it… if only I knew who it was by I could read it again… but would it make such an impact as when I read it in my teens?