This was, very possible, the most intense reading experience of the last decade. The last time I remember such an intense read was Haven Kimmel's "Iod...moreThis was, very possible, the most intense reading experience of the last decade. The last time I remember such an intense read was Haven Kimmel's "Iodine", and this outraces that by several yards.
I'm not going to bother talking about the premise (brilliant) or the structure (beyond innovative) because you can read about these things in the Amazon description.
I will, however talk about how none of these blurbs are accurate in preparing any reader for this book. And I don't mean that in the way you think. (This book, by the way, doesn't mean ANYTHING the way you think).
It's true that the books structure is unusual. It is true that the language Kiernan uses is beautiful. It is true that it is a nonlinear narrative. But when I say that about a book, I watch reader's eyes glaze over as something far removed from them, something that they should read presecriptively, because its Good For You, like Broccoli or something from Oprah Winfrey's Book Club.
This is not that book.
There is an urgency to this narrative that held me in a thrall for three days. I have not entirely broken free from it. Yes, the structure is nonlinear, difficult. But not the way books all too often utilize "nonlear difficult" structures: this is not some self-indugent, postmodern non-novel, flying through its tricks and paces showing off just how smart it REALLY is.
This is not that book.
This book is structured the way it is because there would have been no telling this story any other way. ANY. OTHER. WAY. It is the only thing that makes sense, so the book makes sense, not nonsense. It is non-linear, to be sure. But it is also as tightly structured as clock.
And this "tightness" of structure, coupled with the singularity of the narrator's voice, all create a world where the single question, "Who is Eva Canning?" pulls me through this narrative at a breakneck pace. But of course, that question has many answers. Just not the answers that you think.
So wholeheartedly did I love this book, that I hesitate to even recommend it to anyone I know or care about. I do not want to have a conversation with you about how you didn't like it. How you didn't "get 7/7/7/7".
But I want you to read it. I want everyone to read it. It is a masterpiece, it is a life's work, it is an achievement. But even these words turn to dust in light of "The Drowning Girl". That makes it sound like something impenetrable, something monolithic, not the gorgeous feathered snake of a book it is.
Holy. Crap. This book was amazing. I don't even have words right now to talk about it, really. Structurally innoative, linguistically divine, this is...moreHoly. Crap. This book was amazing. I don't even have words right now to talk about it, really. Structurally innoative, linguistically divine, this is a mind fuck of a book that impressed me in ways contemporary literature rarely has been able to do.(less)