[GUEST POST] Eliza Wass on Folie en famille

This guest post by Eliza Wass is part of the blog tour for the US paperback release of her novel The Cresswell Plot (also published as In the Dark, In the Woods. Below you’ll find the author’s links, information about the book, and the guest post on the topic of folie en famille.

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Eliza Wass
The Cresswell Plot [also published as In the Dark, In the Woods]
Hachette (UK: 21st April 2016; US: 10th October 2017)
Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Hardcover) Buy (US Paperback) Buy (UK Kindle Edition) Buy (UK Hardcover) Buy (UK Paperback) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Hardcover) Buy (CA Paperback) Buy (Worldwide Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide Paperback)

Castella Cresswell and her five siblings – Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem – know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father. Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they’re still the freaks they’ve always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice. Castley’s world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father’s grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father’s lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.

Folie en famille

Okay, so, I am prefacing all my posts with saying I am currently hiking the Santiago Trail in Spain with my parents, 570 miles over 30 days, firstly because it’s so cool and secondly because my thoughts might be a bit scattered!

One of my favourite cases of folie en famille is the Tromp family in Australia. This is a family who one day got into their car without passports or credit cards and cell phones and drove 500 miles north up the Australian coast. At one point, the two girls “escaped” and stole a car, then drove down to another town and reported their parents missing. They then split up and one was found in a stranger’s car. The guy who found her phoned the police and she was described as being catatonic and didn’t know her name or where she was. The other sister and the brother eventually made it back home separately.

Meanwhile, the parents also separated and the father was alleged to have tailgated a couple playing Pokémon Go! When the couple pulled over, the father allegedly got out of the car and ran toward them before running away. He was eventually found walking along the street and was given a mental heath examination by the police before he was released. The mother went on to try to check into a hotel and was taken to the hospital where she was recognized and the police were called as well.

One of the craziest things about this story is how the Tromp family seems just as confused by what happened as everyone else. There was also no family history of mental illness, no signs of drug use and no indication that they belonged to any kind of cult. The youngest daughter said in a statement, “It is
very confusing. I think our states of mind wasn’t in the best place and there’s no one reason for it. It’s bizarre.”

I think it’s just such an interesting example of what I explore in this book, which is how a family is like it’s own little world with it’s own rules and reasons that don’t necessarily make sense to people on the other side, and how that can be compelling and dangerous at the same time.

Note from Tez: I remember when this was happening. Find out more via this news story.

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