Laurie Weeks's Reviews > The Vicious Red Relic, Love: A Fabulist Memoir

The Vicious Red Relic, Love by Anna Joy Springer
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Aug 20, 12

Read from February 23 to March 22, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: Twice

I've been planning this massively insightful review of The Vicious Red Relic, Love for GoodReads and every other site but I'm going to have to take it a step at a time because Red Relic gave me Standhal Syndrome AND Stendhal Syndrome. I didn't know about Standhal until just now, it's like Stendhal, except instead of being made faint by beauty you have a small aneurysm from it. A wee geyser, technically known to us in the medical profession as A Relic-of-Beauty Brain-Mist. It's actually quite refreshing to your frontal lobes.

Point #1: It took me six weeks--SIX FUCKING WEEKS--to get past the beauty of The Forest of Tangential Literacies. I'm talking the phrase. And then each motherfucking PARAGRAPH. And THEN how Anna Joy structured the whole thing--I can't believe that this much embodied (cuz "writing is the body" (taunted in snotty Valley Girl voice) ) beauty (is there a fucking synonym for beauty I wonder? Who can know. No one, sadly. It's really sad. Other sad things include--) But I digress. What? The book's structure is astonishing, how it folds in, opens out, spirals, wefts and warps in crazy sexy rhythm sentencings (I'm coining that right now, I want the right to enrage just like the person from hell who made up "Pleasuring"--most Evil Word In World; My students went insane over this book. They're young and old and in-between and smart, interesting writers, so I took the first few pages of Red Relic, made up some random copycat structure assignment on the spot, and each student wrote a "book in a week," complete with graphics and photos and crazy emails etc, after which everyone felt released at least temporarily from the humorless terrorizing authorized Prisonhouse of Language. The only problem was no one wanted to use any other book but Red Relic for the assignments.

These are boring obvservations that don't address the sheer multidimensional pleasures of this book; linger, race through, go back, it doesn't matter. Why? Cliffhanger! To be continued but everyone should have this one their bookshelf. There's nothing like it; it's brilliant, gorgeous, AND deeply pleasurable. Not punitive or smug in the slightest. A luminous object created from within the deepest, darkest, space of the unknown, terror, and invisible alchemy. This is too abstract to be helpful but Whatever. It's installment #1. Warmup.
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