What more could an Australian girl want than to be with the love of her life without any interference? This is the world of 16 year-old math whiz Grace Greenway who finds herself in an unexplained dream-like world with the handsome high school athlete, Vincente Marino. However, it is not entirely blissful.
Cathy McGough’s A Mathematical State of Grace introduces an introverted teenager who is knocked unconscious from the impact of a stray cricket ball. Vincente is the responsible party for Grace’s condition; his guilt and compassion keep him at the hospital until she is out of harm’s way. What began as a casual school friendship, whose foundation was based on Vincente borrowing Grace’s math homework, intensifies throughout Vincente’s concern for Grace’s recovery.
She awakens in a hospital to learn she has no memories, unable to even recognize her own mother. The doctors mention a potentially dangerous blood clot to her brain which seems surreal to her. The journey to self-rediscovery begins here, and the reader follows Grace as she grapples with reality and fantasy and simultaneously seeks memories that will help her put her life back in perspective. In her pursuit of memory with the doctors, her mother, and Vincente, Greenway encounters her deceased father and brother, Darrell, without realizing who they are and that they are dead.
Vincente becomes Grace’s protector when they realize they are alone in the hospital, alone in the town, alone in the world. McGough mirrors the main character’s state of confusion through the setting which undergoes a transformation presenting a dynamic that feels as if Greenway has walked into a Salvador Dali painting complete with a tree which holds her captive and tries to eat her, echoing voices, and a threatening presence.
There is a floating quality to the story that bends the mind to open possibilities for what might be happening to these two teens. The third person limited omniscient narrator personalizes the events as they are perceived by Grace from her observation of Albert Einstein’s face in the sky to other mathematical references that seem to shadow her life. Despite the flowering closeness Grace feels with Vincente, life is not adding up for her when this volume ends, leaving Grace (and readers) wanting more.
Cathy McGough is the author of THREE FRIENDS and INTERVIEWS WITH LEGENDARY WRITERS FROM BEYOND and her latest novel is A MATHEMATICAL STATE OF GRACE.
Cathy McGough lives in Stratford, Ontario, Canada with her husband, son and two cats Layla and Rosie.