Speaking from Inside

By Mary Simon

Who knew there were so many stories where the narrator speaks from an enclosed, interior space! (Ok, I might be taking some liberties with "interior" but you'll see what I mean.) If you're claustrophobic, this might not be the list for you.

  • Nutshell : a novel

    2016 by Ian McEwan

    A very intriguing voice--an unborn fetus--tells this story, that is part mystery, part personal relationship and family dysfunctionalia. McEwan is a masterful plot-ician and this is perhaps his strongest work to date. Some would say it is based on Hamlet. Searing, addictive, captivating and thoroughly bracing!

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  • Room : a novel

    2010 by Emma Donoghue

    A five year old boy and his mother are held captive in a small shed for more than 7 years. How could anyone survive in such a situation? Is there really a life other than what is in the immediate area and what you view on TV? Confined to an incredibly small space, the story of survival, escape, and reentry into a completely different reality, consumes the plot of this novel. Breathtaking writing and narration.

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  • The Lovely Bones : a novel

    2002 by Alice Sebold

    Narrated by a dead 14-year old girl, who watches from heaven, this novel tells the tale of a brutal murder, the effect that murder has on the family and friends, and the eventual discovery of who was responsible. The perspective is truly unique, the anguish heart-breaking, and the writing impeccable.

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  • Being John Malkovich

    2012 by Charlie Kaufman

    . In this quirky cult-favorite comedy, unemployed New York City puppeteer Craig Schwartz reluctantly takes a job as a file clerk. While at work he discovers a portal that leads into the mind of renowned actor John Malkovich. Most of the film takes place in a tunnel--very confined and certainly unusual. There are twists and turns galore especially having to do with sexual conquests and desires. Highly recommended!

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  • A Journey to the Center of the Earth

    1992 by Jules Verne

    I recently traveled to Iceland, the the exact place where this story supposedly took place. So I went back to re-read this 1864 sci-fi story and I can tell you that it is just as intense the second go-round as the first. The prehistoric monsters and natural disasters are just as vivid, as are the volcanic tubes and tunnels. Life under the earth is certainly confining, but in this instance the adventurers are able to escape and reveal what they witnessed. Still amazing.

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  • Heart of Darkness

    2013 by Joseph Conrad

    Written in 1899, Joseph Conrad in his dark allegory helps the reader embark on a journey up the Congo River to the least-known reaches of Africa. It is a masterful blend of adventure, character development, and psychological penetration. I consider it Conrad’s finest, most enigmatic narration. Questions about imperialism and racism jump out and for that reason, it is as relevant today as when it was published.

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  • 33 Men : inside the miraculous survival and dramatic rescue of the Chilean miners

    2011 by Jonathan Franklin

    In August of 2010 the eyes of the world were focused on a small community of copper miners who survived for 69 days in a 540 square foot safety shelter with only enough food and water to last for 48 hours. Noted journalist Jonathan Franklin recounts the story of the miners and those of us above ground who watched as it unfolded. The 700,000 ton rock that blocked the entrance didn't damper the ingenuity and hope of the engineers and survivors. You may know how the story ended but to read the authentic account and live through the ordeal with these men is one of the most breathtaking adventures ever!

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