Craig's Reviews > Available Dark

Available Dark by Elizabeth Hand
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May 26, 12

bookshelves: to-read
Read in May, 2012 — I own a copy

This pacing of this crime novel is relentless--it's a true "page turner." But as action-packed as it is, what really stands out is the voice of the narrator. Cass Neary is morbid, burned out speed freak, occasional klepto with a dark sense of humor. Would I like to hang out with her in real life? Nope--she's too amoral and has a mean streak. But her narrative voice is additive, full of witty asides. She's a photographer with a dark-adapted eye and a subcultural autodidact, a chronicler of the wasted and fringe.
The milieu the book explores is the Scandinavian Black Metal scene, with set pieces in Helinski and Iceland. Hand's previous (and continued) incarnation as a fantasy writer comes into play, both in her conjured atmospheres and in the mythic subtexts of that scene (Odinism, Asatru, and heathen religions). She's also a stylist: symbolism abounds in the text (the character ain't called Cassandra for nothing). Photo and punk/metal geeks will find much to admire.
I read the book in 2 days.
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