My journal notes on The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.
Flight 753 survivor Ansel Barbour huddled with his wife, Ann-Marie, and his two children, eight-year-old Benjy and five-year-old Haily, on a blue chintz sofa in the back sunroom of their three-bedroom home in Flatbush, New York.
Rather than going to the lawyer or the pop star, we see the return of the Joe Ordinary-man.
The pop star may have no immediate family, & although the lawyer might, she may be the kind of person to put career first. So, it’s no surprise that Ansel has the wife (Ann-Marie), two children (Ben and Haily), & two dogs (Pap and Gertie), almost the typical household. I get the feeling that out of the three discharged survivors, it’s mainly Ansel that I’m supposed to relate to.
His wife is borderline OCD, I understand that I’m not supposed to relate to her, empathise perhaps, but she’s a plot device to make the husband even more important to the family, and that his transition from human to “other” will be that much harder to bear. For his family and the reader.
In fact, Ann-Marie’s problems are mapped out, explained and rationalised, so that she becomes a reason for Ansel to have the left the hospital as quickly as possible. She needs him, she cannot function without him, and in turn he puts her needs far above the needs or demands of anything else in his life.