“Craven Prayers” is the story of Catherine Louis, a bank teller at the threshold of middle age, who confronts a mystery about her identity, one with sinister, possibly uncanny, import. Moviemaking, notably the rendering of Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening” and Charlotte Bronte’s “Villette,” provides the backdrop for the action, much of it set in Wilmington, NC.
Trent Dotson says:
“The films in ‘Craven Prayers’ underscore the motif that makes it unique as a suspense novel. ‘The Awakening’ and ‘Villette’ both depict women apart — women isolated from the people around them partly through circumstance but mainly because of their individuality. The events befalling Catherine Louis in ‘Craven Prayers’ likewise stem from her fundamental ‘apartness.’ Catherine is no victim, however. No matter what happens — and some of what happens is pretty frightening — she ultimately gives as good as she gets.”
She and her husband were just inside the jet bridge. Some people ahead squatted to gather the contents of a torn shopping bag. She looked at the travelers behind her in line and at the gate. She looked down the length of the bright concourse, where the figures of the mother and the old friend were receding. She saw people walking, sitting, napping. Talking to one another. Talking on pay telephones. Smoking, reading magazines. People preparing to leave, people returning. Embracing. Ordinary people, moving about the world. From far back inside herself she regarded them. She perceived that she was moving away farther still, that she was being pulled backward through a tunnel. The scene was far off now, a bright blur, a flickering light, a flame. She heard a whisper, a cool exhalation in the darkness, serenely compelling: “What do you have to do with them? You belong to a different race.”