Range of Motion

What’s it about?

Lainey’s husband, Jay, lies in a coma after a head injury The doctors have given up on him recovering, but Lainey hasn’t-and won’t. She talks to him as though he hears every word. She bring things for him to feel, hear and smell. She waits every day for a miracle that she has been told will never come. Meanwhile, at home, she’s begun seeing and hearing the ghost of a woman who lived in her house long ago.

What was the inspiration?

Only this: I wanted to write a novel where I could represent a person in a coma’s point of view. As a nurse, I’d taken care of people in comas, and I’d always felt this strong presence. I wanted to explore that more fully.


Range of Motion book cover
Random House – 1995

“I’d come home from the grocery store, late, after I’d been gone all day, and I’d started making dinner and I was really tense because I knew it would never be ready on time and I cracked open a beer to calm down. I saw the answering machine flashing with a message when I sat the kids in front of The Mickey Mouse Club but I thought the hell with it and I started making the tomato sauce-eggplant parmesan, we were having. Once things had gotten going, I went in to pick up the message. ‘This is Dr. Matthews at St. Luke’s hospital,’ a too-calm voice said. And I remember I looked at the girls and thought, No, this is a mistake, they’re right here. And then I thought about who wasn’t here.”

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