Cornelia's Reviews > Veronica

Veronica by Mary Gaitskill
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Apr 27, 11

bookshelves: 2011
Read in April, 2011

I read Veronica over the course of roughly 1.5 days (sleep, work, play also took up some time). It was addictive and mesmerizing and delirious and stunning and beautiful and expansive and breathless and depressing and hard and devastating and wonderful. Not everyone will love it and I've no trouble seeing why. Still, it really hit the spot for me.

The structure is linear but with lots of flashbacks and sometimes the transition from present to past is so smooth that you don't realize you were in the present day at the start of a paragraph, only to find yourself 2 decades in the past at the end of it. This isn't hard to follow if you can get into the flow of the writing and let it carry you.

The best thing about this novel is that it's very much alive. Even when it deals with death and decay, it manages to hum and pulsate with aliveness. It's not nihilistic, it's not ironic, it's not flippant. It's guttural and sometimes it guts you. But, sometimes it caresses and warms you with the loveliness of fleeting moments, deep love and small joys. This is largely due to the the sharp and precise beauty of Gaitskill's prose. It's in your face when it needs to be and allows you to take a step back (without ever keeping you at arm's length) when that's necessary. It knocks the wind out of you, but lets you get it back before socking you again.
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