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In When I Fell, author Sandra Kolankiewicz exposes the bitterness of an elderly woman whose entire adult life has been muzzled by bad timing, personal tragedies, and the bracketed rules of social conformity. Evie Roberts, an heiress of wealth and a figure of social propriety, becomes incapacitated as the result of an accidental fall that shatters her pelvis. Helpless and bedridden by injury, she submits to the unfamiliar hands of care among the highly diverse, clinical personnel of a modern hospital. Unable to move, flat on her back, altogether vulnerable to an organization she does not trust, she is passive against the power of morphine injections routinely administered to relieve insufferable pain.
Side-effects alternate between amusing hallucinations and uncontrolled revelations of her private, hidden life. Unexpectedly, a quirky and clairvoyant attending nurse directs Evie’s flashbacks by introducing her to self-induced mind travel, a suggested avenue for experiencing realistic recreations of, and resolutions to, long unanswered memories. In a strange transcendental state, Evie recalls her happy, emancipated youth; a wonderfully liberated phase stymied in adulthood by unbending social conventions, sequences of bad timing, and incidents of deep, personal loss. Sliding between dream states and the limited reality of her hospital room, she pieces together a troubling picture of failed womanhood, and learns how far she has fallen from herself.