Imagine if Stephen King’s Carrie had lived and her powers had kicked in at the menopause instead.
That’s the inspiration for bestselling author Joanne Harris’s new novel, Broken Light, after she reread Carrie during lockdown and chemotherapy.
You can see the Chocolat author at Bridport Electric Palace on Friday 10 November at 2pm when she will be in conversation BAFTA winner Jo Willet, a television drama and comedy producer.
Carrie, the story of a girl who gets telekinetic powers at puberty was a favourite when Harris was growing up.
In an interview with the Guardian, Harris says: ‘It’s all about the drama of adolescence and the horror of having a changing body that does unpredictable stuff.’
And then she thought why not give those powers to a woman in the menopause? At 48, Bernie Moon discovers she is able to inhabit people’s minds and set them on a different course, with predatory men becoming a particular target.
Publisher’s Weekly describes Bernie as reduced to a minor player in her own life – estranged from her moody husband and her 30-year-old son, and she has no close friends.
The brutal murder of a jogger and the public’s response to it – that the woman shouldn’t have been out at night and alone – unleashes Bernie’s long-simmering rage and rekindles the magic she’s lost in adulthood.
Kicking the knotty plot into high gear, she embarks on a journey to ‘over-write Old Bernie and to make of myself something different,’ with potentially deadly results.
Ian Rankin describes the novel as ‘chilling, enchanting and thought-provoking’, while Marian Keyes says Broken Light ‘blazes with anger and sorrow’.