Funerals for Horses is a novel that adds an incredible physical journey to the kind of emotional voyage of The Yellow Wallpaper. Ella's "descent into madness" is more a series of frightening dips into a breathtaking clarity, where the surface of the mind is broken again and again with the haunting memories that threaten to ruin her. Ella's final aim seems not to triumph over these visions but to come to an understanding of their impact and, utlimately, of their origins. Catherine Ryan Hyde creates seamless transitions between the levels of Ella's reality. Most striking to me is the development --within Ella's mind-- of the character of DeeDee. More than a stabilizing, conscience-type voice, DeeDee is a parallel to Ella, an other-world, alternate life version of her. DeeDee's urgings to make decisions based on other-than-sensible logic may be Ella's best defense against her own emotions.
The novel's voice is a crushing one, heavy with layers of sensation that must be felt simultaneously before they can be experienced separately. Catherine Ryan Hyde has created a story that cannot be interrupted, one that will make you miss your stop on the bus, eat cold cereal for dinner, and stay up long past your normal bed time. Plan accordingly; Funerals for Horses is not to be missed.