In the story Wings, the phrase that captures the relationship between two musicians is "Motherless childrenI enjoyed the last four stories the most.
In the story Wings, the phrase that captures the relationship between two musicians is "Motherless children would always find each other." They are ill matched, and she becomes friend with an elderly neighbor who gives her his house where she opens a nursing home, alone at the end. So it has somewhat a happy ending.
In the story Referential, about a manic son, his mother and a failing relationship (many failing relationships) she writes, "...the loss of fathers etched primitively in an algebra of skin." And, "Mutilation is a language." This story does a great depiction of mania.
In the story Thank you for Having Me, there is comparison between weddings and funerals. It is the second marriage of the daughter's Brazilian caregiver, which mother and daughter are attending together, Moore writes, "And without weddings there were only funerals."
Every once in a while there is a quote that brought me deeper and seems philosophical. She is a good writer and there are surprises in these stories, but be prepared, they are not uplifting. These stories are not like the early Lorrie Moore stories, which are comedic in a lighter way, here they are weighted down....more
I went to a joint reading where I was first introduced to Amber Dawn's writing, she is a terrific reader and writer. Sub Rosa is a novel about memoryI went to a joint reading where I was first introduced to Amber Dawn's writing, she is a terrific reader and writer. Sub Rosa is a novel about memory and survival, and it is the first book she wrote. It is written in the style of magical realism and has been compared to the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. She told me it is more her memoir than her second book, "How Poetry Saved My Life, A Hustler's Memoir."
Amber Dawn is Canadian, and has an MFA in Creative Writing. She is primarily a poet, which shows in the prose of this beautifully written book. It is about life in a fictional community, Sub Rosa, a world inside a community of brothels. And within this community are several families of Glories. Each family includes a Daddy, one house is run by a Dowager, a First wife, a Second wife or Second husband, a Third wife. There is a dowry that is paid by going through a period of Dark Days. The Dark is a space that is full of hazards, miniscule light, black holes, swarms of insects, drunks, broken glass, and a shimmering lost Glory who lives there, This lost Glory appears to our main protagonist as a helper to assist her in remembering her early life.
There are memories in the dark, but Sub Rosa is a call to light, a beautiful place full of comforts. There is a full city beyond the Dark, that she has been found and rescued from by the man who becomes her Daddy/husband once her dowry is paid. These families reside an invisible space. They have a beauty parlor, a restaurant, a bakery, gardens, a jewerler, and they take care of the Live ones who come for their company.
Each of the women has a power of her own. The main characters who has been rescued is given the name Little, eventually she is ready to go though her first journey in the Dark, she has to raise $500, it takes her two days with a healing break between at the initiation of First wife. Little becomes a legend in Sub Rosa for doing the Dark, and meeting her dowry, in two days. She becomes a Healer Glory, designated by her Daddy, who's name is Arden, and she does have secret powers, which came with her from the Dark. I will leave this for you to find out what her hidden powers are when you read Sub Rosa.
She revisits the Dark a second time when Sub Rosa is under threat. Due to one of their family running away the police have been alerted and blocked the secret opening. This second trip into the Dark increases Little's gradual awakening to early memories. Also, she brings a Live one from the Dark that provides the release needed to distract the police. Inside Sub Rosa she slowly and secretly finds support from some of the other Glories and they form a Cherished Memory Club. With this group she makes a plan to go into the Dark a third time, when she stays with the illusive one to find her early memories.
The book is a subversive and psychological look at families constructed in alternative communities, which i am sure goes beyond the sex industry. Each family is a unique culture and she is able to capture this, how we really don't know what is going on in a house right next door. The book has many layers about memory and trauma as well, that would take more analysis.
This book is well written and will become, if not already, a cult classic. ...more
This is a book that came into my life randomly, I might never have known about it if someone had not passed it on to me. It is exactly as the title saThis is a book that came into my life randomly, I might never have known about it if someone had not passed it on to me. It is exactly as the title says, a one-hundred-year-old man escapes a home for the elderly on his birthday morning. He's had quite a life (back story) and has quite an adventure, which turns out to be a continuation of his very interesting life. He lives by what I term the open door policy, going with what comes and seeing what happens. The author himself is a journalist and the main character, this aged gentleman, has met many of the leaders in the world and influenced the nuclear arms race several times. It is fast clipped and engaging, a bit of a mystery, a bit of political satire, all with a main character who has no interest in politics but never the less finds himself always in the middle of them.
One great quote, "...in certain situations it was best not to know or at least best not to leave any way of proving that you know what you know." Lots of laughs.
Set in Montana, we step into the lives of the Arbunckle family from 1916 to 1946, through the depression. This is a skilled writer who captures place,Set in Montana, we step into the lives of the Arbunckle family from 1916 to 1946, through the depression. This is a skilled writer who captures place, people, emotions, and the drama of farm life with its hard work, many losses and grief. Through the eyes of Blake we experience the visceral life on a farm. He stops school at the age of 16 when his brother drowns, because he is needed on the farm. He learns his brother had planned to try out as a pitcher for a baseball team in a city. He finds his brother's drawings of how to hold the ball in the hand, and a ticket to travel that had been sent to him by a scout. He finds himself practicing and curious, so he writes to the scout. Eventually, there is a reason to travel, and he sets up an appointment, he is offered a position on the team, but once home he stays.
There is an influx of people traveling west, and from the beginning we learn these "honyockers" ... "...weren't prepared for what was snow piled as high as their heads, or cold air that froze their tears to their faces." The book shows the rugged conditions, the hard work the pioneers had to do to survive in the elements, and the family relationships where the cultural norm is to hold quiet and not tell your secrets.
Farm life is hard. When they find the cow in the field after giving birth, her uterus hanging outside her body, they must find the calf, then stuggle to push her uterus back inside, with many takes, to exhaustion; two neighbors, a father and son, die in their house in the middle of a long cold winter; the drought goes on for ten years. The neighbor who died had told Blake that, "the land beat the hell out of people," a recurrent theme.
Near the end of the book the oldest son of Blake's brother Jack, also named George, drowns. Blake thinks about his grief and how it grows the same way a child does. "To begin with, neither can speak, although both are adept at making their presence known—sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically. The message may not be clear, but the depth of feeling, the passion, is never in doubt./ As it grows, and ages, grief developes a voice of its own, a voice that needs an attentive, patient ear to express its messages clearly. And if itis ignored, the voice will eventually demand attention, until one day you turn around to find yourself looking it squarely in the face./ There is no choice in this progression. The progression happens whether you permit it or not. The choice comes in how you respond." One of the best personifcations of grief I have ever read.
I am excited to read his next book, The Watershed Years.