An elegantly compelling story of how a young girl’s obsession forever changes the lives of those around her…a disciplined exploration of the complexity of human motivation and our need for redemption. – Lynne Van Luven, Vancouver Sun
Kathy Page’s The Story of My Face is at once compelling and confounding. Page is a skilled enough writer that you are pulled into the mysterious events surrounding Natalie’s disfigurement- the cause and extent of which you learn little about until the book’s final pages- from the beginning. But the central event of Natalie’s life is buried in adult-Natalie’s search for meaning and understanding.
We meet Natalie Baron as an adult on her way to Finland to research Tuomas Envall, the leader of a strict religious sect. Natalie’s own connection to the cult comes in the form of Barbara Hern, her husband, John, and son, Mark. These three people have important roles to play, particularly Barbara for whom Natalie has a possessive affection.
Page weaves past and present together, but for me- the story was at its most compelling during the time Natalie is with the Herns on a retreat with other members of this religious sect.
The story of what happens to her face is actually not as startling as how she impacts the lives of the Hern family, most specifically Barbara.