b2s pick: Sabrina by Nick Drnaso

37533587Book 2 Screen Pick

Sabrina by Nick Drnaso (Granta, 2018)

Summary: When Sabrina disappears, an airman in the U.S. Air Force is drawn into a web of suppositions, wild theories, and outright lies. He reports to work every night in a bare, sterile fortress that serves as no protection from a situation that threatens the sanity of Teddy, his childhood friend and the boyfriend of the missing woman. Sabrina’s grieving sister, Sandra, struggles to fill her days as she waits in purgatory. After a videotape surfaces, we see devastation shown through a cinematic lens, as true tragedy is distorted when fringe thinkers and conspiracy theorists begin to interpret events to fit their own narratives

Notes: Drnaso seems inspired to make his readers squirm, forcing them to look through a lens of American paranoia and isolationism. A horrifyingly relevant story, reflecting the never-ending news stories of SWM shootings and other extremist forms of violence. The book IS American current affairs – the military complex, gun rights, conspiracy theorists, and Reddit trolls. An important piece on the propaganda of ‘fake-news’ or conspiracy theories in mainstream media, and how they have impacted so many lives. 

We find out early on what happened to Sabrina, and the story only benefits from this, looking not at the whodunit but whydunit. The story presents a web of painful truths and emotions in a wave of grief, paranoia, and a desperation for a great understanding. Drnaso’s creates a pressurized story that is able to sustain a feeling of dread even when the characters aren’t under physical threat.

The story starts with a bang but ends with a whisper. Leaving us cold, to all the better remind us that life goes on no matter how much one tries to drown in the grief. 



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