June 1st is World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day. With social distancing and confinement guidelines now imposing a new way of living, Inhaled warns of the heightened risk victims of abuse will face, away from their resources and support network. Montreal author Isabelle Duval shares her dark story of overcoming an abusive and dangerous relationship with a narcissist/sociopath in this transgressive thriller.
What was the inspiration for this book?
Isabelle Duval: I knew, as my relationship was sinking into the pit hole of abuse, that I had to document the strangeness and cruelty of it all. I knew that what I was experiencing was quite abnormal. So the inspiration for writing Inhaled was dictated by a state of mind that had been literally taken hostage by manipulations, lies and gas lighting but also by the abuser's lack of conscience. To witness such absence of remorse is quite compelling. My curiosity had been stoked. And it almost killed me.
I also wrote to provide victims of narcissistic abuse a soundboard that validates their pain and their reality. I wrote to tell them that they are not alone. I wrote to educate as well. Narcissistic abuse is devastating to the spirit and the soul and needs to be better understood.
What makes Inhaled different from other similarly themed books on the market?
I wrote with a raw honesty that pulls the reader in. The glimpse into dysfunction, depravity and denial that I offer is rare and confronts the reader head-on. How can a smart woman like me not see, really see, what is going on?
What does writing this book at this time mean to you?
I wrote about abuse, about the power sex can have on a woman. I exposed myself fully. This is naked and vulnerable writing at its best. Exposing myself like that is somewhat frightening. But, it freed me from my demons. It proved that in the end, I was stronger than the abuser. That I won.
How do the book’s themes address today’s issues; what is the relevance for readers?
With social distancing and confinement guidelines now drawing a new way of living, Inhaled warns of the heightened danger victims of abuse will face, away from their resources and support network. As well, the book underscores the misogyny and sexism that is still rampant.
Why did you choose this title for the book?
I chose to title my book Inhaled for the simple reason that I felt swallowed whole by the experience, sucked into someone else’s psyche, someone who wanted to fuse with me, insuring my disappearance.
Why should people read Inhaled?
People should read this book to understand that it could happen to anyone; to learn the importance of listening to your intuition, your guts, your inner voice. Addiction comes in many forms, but leaving such a relationship, while painful beyond measure, is possible.
Duval's tone and voice, reminiscent of European writers Anais Nin and Alain Robbe-Grillet, almost lull the reader into the hypnotic calm felt by its protagonist. Yet, this scenario is more than just a discovery of one woman's full sexuality. It's a recounting of how a woman can convince herself that all is well when it is no; how a woman desperate for love and healing from shame cannot see the danger behind the mirror being held up to her. –Amazon reader
Click for Inhaled trailer
Click to read a brief excerpt from Inhaled, chapter one
Inhaled is available online on Amazon and Indigo, among others.