Paige Ellen Stone's Reviews > The Drowning Girl

The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan
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Feb 07, 13

Read from March 12 to 13, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 1

I have made no secret of my love for CRK's work. It amazes me how she gets better and better with each new novel, keeps the Sirenia Digest going, continues to publish short work and still, I assume, have a life with her partner, K. Pollnac.
Some of the pre-publicity on this much awaited book touted it as, "her classic." How can a brand new book be given such praise? I was skeptical, to say the least. I don't know if this will, in time, be considered her "classic", but I will say it is the best book she has yet published and is a novel so complex, that works on so many levels (literal, metaphorical, symbolic, etc.) and yet remains easy to read. I admit that I got so undone by some of the chapter endings that I had to pause a while to pick the book back up; there was so much to ponder and so much that was humanly unsettling. That I am a clinical psychologist did not help.
I won't attempt to summarize the plot but will merely say that this is a ghost story that is not a ghost story that is a ghost story.
I must admit that I found myself taking a step back at times to appreciate the genius of CRK just in the writing of the book. Her use of words is never accidental and is so realistic as to give the reader s/he is peering over the shoulder of whomever is typing. The fact that I lived for a long time in the area where most of the story takes place helps with the visualization of the events to some degree. It served to make things even more real for me
It is obvious that I am struggling to convey my thoughts on this book. I will close with my current thoughts on the book after one reading. This is very intimate stuff, that CRK could write so well from the inside of madness is astounding to me. I don't know if it is a ghost story. It could be a memoir. It could be a novel. What I DO KNOW is that it is the best book CRK has written, in my opinion and it is easily the best book I have read this year. It is a genre book, true, but CRK's writing helps it cross genres easily. Even if you are not familiar with her work and can deal with uncertainty and non-linearity, then read this book. It is stunning, compelling and breath-taking.
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