HATTIE: A Novel
Anna Bozena Bowen
Synopsis: Recipient of twelve book awards, HATTIE, a debut novel, begins with the end of a woman’s life and delivers a story that comes out of the heart and soul of what it means to be human in a sometimes inhuman world. In a spare and powerful narrative, this soulful story takes us on an intimate journey through the meaning of Hattie’s life and life in general. HATTIE is a mystical, spiritual, and very human experience.
Excerpt: At first she struggled. The terror of impending death had instinctively gripped her. Her lips clenched. The pressure of tightly held air mounted until searing pain tore through her chest. Her lungs felt on fire. To hold back what was inevitable, her throat and face hardened like a stone dam. Her body twisted in agony. Her face distorted. Her hands clawed.
One last thought fought its way through the terror. “Not like this.” She didn’t want agony. She didn’t want to look deformed. And she knew she was going to die. So she made the last choice she was ever going to make. She stopped struggling. Slowly her body began to untwist. Her arms and legs loosened and let the water hold them. Her face softened. She parted her lips and opened her mouth. Her throat relaxed. The cool clear water of Willow Lake flowed into her. She stopped struggling for air that wasn’t there and the fire in her lungs was soothed. There was no more pain. No more struggle. As she drifted downward, her eyes gazed upward and watched one last bubble of air be set free. One last whisper of life. She saw it floating away from her. Further and further toward the surface. Toward the sun’s light glistening far above her.
Now I can tell my story for at least you know how I died. I drowned. Though I had known many terrors up to that point, the terror of death that seized me, surprised me. But I have to say, once I accepted death and was able to choose to release that last bubble of air, I felt a peace I had never known in my entire life.
Anna Bozena Bowen: Writer, poet, nurse and intuitive, Bowen was the first American-born child to her Polish immigrant parents. Her personal journey, nursing career, and work with survivors of abuse “privileged me to hear many stories. I witnessed resilience of spirit and significance of voice,” she says. Her holistic approach to life and connection to the universe is evidenced in HATTIE, an awards winning novel. Bowen lives happily and creatively in Massachusetts with her husband of thirty-eight years.