Just as I was about to close my eyes I saw a faint line connecting the shadows, like string you take into a forest so you don’t lose your way. Everything in the room was joined by one line; the frame to the curtain, the coil to the crack, the belt to the shoe. I closed my eyes and in the vision behind the skin of my lids I saw the line stretch way out to sea, like cobweb blown by the wind, further and further; it crossed the Pacific until the Pacific became the Indian and it found Robby in his ship. It touched his shoulder and moved across the sleeve of his shirt and up to his eyes and across the top of his head and then the line went to all the other men on the ship; then all the way back to me. Everyone was joined.
Very few books touch you so hard–so deeply, so true–that you know you will never be the same after reading them.
Last year I read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and while reading I had the distinct impression Yanagihara was mincing me piece by piece into a meat grinder. I had the same reaction to Sofie Laguna’s stunning book, The Eye of the Sheep. As I turned the last page, the hollow that had been growing inside me, ballooned and ached. Laguna’s words had seeped into my very core.
The Eye of the Sheep is a masterfully constructed story told through the eyes of an autistic child called Jimmy Flick. Jimmy sees the world without pretensions. He sees the lines of connections between us all; the power and the pulse of life around us; and heartbreakingly, the absurdness and cruelty of human relationships.
The story opens on a Saturday morning with Jimmy waiting for his dad to wake up. This act in itself is symbolism at its very best.
Laguna had me laughing, clapping my hands in delight at her wonderful prose and then ugly crying, leaking tears all over the place.
If you haven’t read The Eye of the Sheep published in 2014, short-listed for the Stella Prize and winner of the 2015 Miles Franklin Award, do yourself a favour and read it soon. Read it before Laguna’s next book, Choke is released later this year.