This is an astonishingly great book. It is, all at once, a painful and uplifting story where the fantastical elements provide an allegorical relief foThis is an astonishingly great book. It is, all at once, a painful and uplifting story where the fantastical elements provide an allegorical relief for adversity, and alienation, the cruelties of the world, the meaning in all we express and the power of connection and purpose. It has an arch, lurid, operatic sort of story; it incorporates a gloriously luscious noir sensibility, and a homeliness that reminds me of John Steinbeck or Morley Callaghan. It has prose that balances being muscular and direct with being lyrical and poetic. It has acute and far ahead of it's time psychological observations about attachment and abuse, surrogacy and violation. It manages to muse philosophically on the nature of being without once coming near pretension or artifice. It is a towering parable of the imperative of empathy.
Incidentally, that this book dates from 1950, that it is a science-fiction book from 1950 and that it is the first novel of a young author only make it more astonishing.
I read this book as a young child, somewhere near the initial age of the protagonist. While I had forgotten most of the contents of the book until I just reread it, it struck me to the core as a child and was one of a handful of books most meaningful and informative to me in that period. Stepping back into it now, it is completely unsurprising that this was the case and I see that despite having little conscious recall of the book, there are endless elements and details that marked me, contributed to my perception of the world and fertilized me.
While I believe this book could be a wondrous read for anyone, it makes a tremendous gift for a troubled youth....more
poignant. subdued. restrained yet emotive. it is so difficult to know what to say about lemire's work. he understands art telling the story. he is a mpoignant. subdued. restrained yet emotive. it is so difficult to know what to say about lemire's work. he understands art telling the story. he is a master of line and brush stroke and negative space.
despite having few words, it takes a long time to read one of his stories, because you are drawn into the page, into haunted eyes, into wispy limbs, into gaunt countryside. into people's dreams and despairs. into everyday moments made large.
he makes blunt stoic people tender. he takes almost cliche aspects of life and shows you a unique moment demonstrating why it is universal.