The Morbids by Ewa Ramsay

‘I think about dying all the time.’

Two years ago, Caitlin was planning an overseas trip with her best friend. Two years ago, Caitlin was enjoying her career. Two years ago, an accident changed everything.

And now?

Every week, Caitlin attends a weekly support group. She and the other members of the group suffer from profound anxiety about imminent death. The group nicknamed ‘The Morbids’, talk about the many and varied ways, times and places in which death might await them. Their fear is disabling and paralysing, making ‘normal life’ almost impossible. The leadership of the group has changed: once a psychiatrist led discussion, now a series of different nurses attends and takes notes. It is almost as if the professionals have given up: the group is essentially facilitated by one of the participants.

’Everything had been perfect and now it wasn’t and nothing was ever going to fix it.’

Caitlin is convinced that she is going to die. She tries to manage her overwhelming anxiety by keeping busy, self-medicating with alcohol and keeping those who might care at arm’s length.

How can Caitlin possibly attend her best friend’s wedding in Bali? And when Tom, a handsome doctor, takes an interest in her, will she be able to overcome her fear of death and restart her life?

Anyone who has ever experienced anxiety will be able to relate to Caitlin’s story. Sure, anxiety is often only temporary for most of us, but it is the oppressive feeling of anxiety that Ms Ramsay captures in this novel. Anxiety: an overwhelming fear that often has a logical starting point but can grow into monstrous proportions and take over a life. I wanted Caitlin to succeed, to reclaim her life but could feel that monstrous weight pressing down on her.

Highly recommended.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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