Travis Thrasher: Isolation

by Rachel Baker on September 24, 2008

Isolation Travis ThrasherHere’s a surprise!  Have you ever heard of Christian Horror?  Sort of sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it?  I mean, really, you think Christian, you think hope and love and joy.  You think Horror, you conjure up images of Cujo and viruses that wipe out the whole country and big ugly clowns who kidnap children every hundred years.  Right?

So, how does Christian Horror actually work?  I’m not really sure, but fiction writer, Travis Thrasher, has successfully figured out the formula.  In his newest novel, Isolation, he’s combined christian faith with a stephen king-esque setting to explore what happens to your psyche when you are in the midst of a spiritual attack and what it takes to recover from this attack.  The result is one of the most horrifying novel I’ve read in a long time.

Alright, so what’s so scary about Isolation? <what an interestingly profound question that turns out to be>

First off, Travis Thrasher (which just sounds like a scary name) does a fantastic job of painting a graphic picture for your imagination to pick up and run with.  There are whole sections in this book that makes its reader want to throw the book across the room, pull up the covers over his/her head, and repeat “its not real, its not real, its not real”.

Let’s say on a missionary trip, you called on your God to help the people who were dying from a strange virus, and he let them die.  Your faith in your God has been unwavering for as long as you can remember, and he just didn’t pull through for you.  Hence, for a long time after your return from the mission trip, you question where he is, why he abandoned you?

Where are You, God, and why are You so quiet?  Why don’t You help us?  Why can’t I sense You anymore?
He scratched his chin.  Maybe this was his fault.  His lack of faith.  It was his anger at God that he was being punished for.  Had God ever intended them to come to Edge Hill?  Had he decided on his own, and now God was abandoning them because of his stubborness?
…Where is Your face?  Where are You, God?

Can you feel the despair? The abandonment?  The loneliness?  This isn’t just one character talking here.  This is the whole family.  And interestingly, this is also pretty close to the internal thoughts the wife has while she’s silently pleading with her husband to notice her again.

The concept of spiritual abandonment is horrifying all by itself, but now there’s someone stalking your family too…

Nobody would know.  Nobody would hear.  And this nice little family that looked so sweet would suddenly be taken from this world with a car and without notice, and he would enjoy every second of it after waiting for something like this his whole life.
His mouth watered and he licked his lips in the frigid cold of the day.
Soon enough.

The thought of not being aware of someone watching me, plotting to catch my family completely so s/he can satisfy some sick insatiable desire to kill; I don’t know about you, but this thought scares the hell out me!

…and try as you might, you can’t wholeheartedly put your faith in the one thing you’ve always believed in.

Can you begin to see where all the horror lies in Isolation (again, what a profound statement)?  This is the story of Isolation in the ‘wilderness’ away from other people, Isolation within a family unit and Isolation from God.

By the way, despite all the graphic terror, there is a happy ending – thanks to the innocence of an eight year old.  Without him, this whole story would end in complete tragedy!

Travis Thrasher has a winner with this one.  He has written a gripping novel  which takes its readers on a journey through different aspects of what causes isolation.  This is an interesting behavioral study on what happens when everything you’ve ever believed in seems to be falling apart.  This isn’t my normal “pick it off the shelf and read it in one setting” type of book. However, I’m quite happy I did read it and I would recommend it to anyone who like a good horror story or a story of hope.  Be advised though, this book is not for the faint at heart.

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