Damecatoe's Reviews > Threshold

Threshold by Caitlín R. Kiernan
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's review
Aug 02, 2007

really liked it
Read in August, 2004

I knew from the first sentence that I would like Kiernan's writing style. I have gathered 3 post-its on pages that I wanted to copy a quote from or use an as example. Like an example of how the author describes things: when a character is trying to stay very close to a brick wall so she can remain in it's thin line of shade, Kiernan says she "presses herself scrapbook rosepetal flat." There are dozens of descriptions like that, but that particular one caught my fancy.

The first character we meet is named Chance, and I can't help but picture Amber Benson. The story is set in Birmingham, and I could kiss Kiernan's cheek because not one of the characters has had a warbled Southern accent. There ain't even been no redneck double negatives, y'here? And lo, that is refreshing.

At one point in the narrative, Chance pulls into a parking lot and she's deliberating something and it's mentioned that the radio is playing an old Nirvana song. And I laughed cause I just knew that meant she was listening to 107.7 the X. They're the local alternative radio station in B-ham, but they are notorious for playing the same songs to death, and yeah they dip heavily into the Cobain Archive.

But the thing that caught me the most was her description of Chance returning to her house. Her grandparent's house, her grandparents who raised her and now her grandfather has died and she is all alone and the house is only hers.

"She crosses the threshold, shoescuffed strip of varnished pine to mark her reluctant steps ... into the shadows and leftover scraps of night waiting inside; a house to anyone passing by but Chance knows that it's become something more: a dim and whispering box to hold all the memories of her life, a memorial. Frame for a thousand reminders she doesn't need because she couldn't forget if she tried, wouldn't if she could. And she just wants it to be a house again."

Oh, how right she is.

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