By Kristen Blank
“I cannot move past this eye…it invades even here, it is not your eye, not God’s, it is the mind’s eye – the one with the pitiless stare that extracts one’s essence drop by drop.”
For Caitlin Winstrum, a doctor of psychology at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane, it is through her mind’s eye that she is able to find what she wants from her life. Ponomareff beautifully captures this period of historical change both in the roles that characters are expected to play and the inner turmoil which prevents them from fulfilling them.Caitlin struggles with her sense of place, both in her role as a woman entering the medical field and in her personal life. The pressure to create a family for herself, to decode her patients and to be taken seriously as a woman psychologist, builds as she navigates what it is she wants from her life.
Colourful details like the dissatisfaction with streetcars and how their inefficiency used to make the local newspaper headlines made me laugh out loud, as I can’t say they run any better now than they did back then. While exploring the novella I found myself seeing the city I live in through a different set of eyes, and while it may not have been my own mind’s eye, it connected me to a history we should all understand in order to learn where we might go. The future is open and sometimes all you can do for it –is wait.