The door to hell stands under a fluorescent light in an alley in Queens. The devil himself showed me.
This is how Ricardo Henriquez begins his first novel, The Catcher’s Trap.
It’s a story about Andres, a young man, from Bridgeport, Connecticut, who is crashing on his cousin’s couch in Queens. One night he follows a group of strangers to a raunchy rave, gets kidnapped, and finds himself imprisoned in a brutal alternate reality called The Mist. And then, life for Andres gets a whole lot worse.
Ricardo Henriquez joined Morning Edition Host Tom Kuser in the studio to talk about his novel. Below is a transcript of a portion of their conversation.
Where did the idea for Andres and his descent into The Mist come from?
Many years ago, probably, like, five or six years ago, I went through a really deep depression. It was a really, really dark time. And when I made it to the other side, when I found help and started feeling better, I really wanted to write about it.
I used to be a journalist. I love writing. But I decided that I didn’t want to write, like, the number one million memoir about ‘I had a depression.’ And I wanted to turn it into something fun. And I am a huge horror and fantasy fan, I am a big nerd, so I was, like, what’s best? I’ll write a metaphor for that whole time. And that’s The Catcher’s Trap.
You include in the story a number of pretty vivid scenes of torture and abuse. Very disturbing descriptions, in fact, I almost found myself having to put it aside, but by that point in time, I was too invested in the story so I had to keep going. Why did you include them and why are they important to your narrative?
Every single piece of The Catcher’s Trap was thought through. I decided that all that violence and abuse had to be there because that’s how it felt. There was nobody being violent to me. That’s how depression felt to me. It was like someone was bashing me every single day, and I was a victim of that horrible, horrible feeling. And I felt like many things that were feelings, I turned into objects and physical representations of what I was feeling and the violence and the torture and the blood is the representation of the worst pieces of that depression.