Claire's Reviews > Lilac Mines: A Novel

Lilac Mines by Cheryl Klein
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Sep 10, 09

Read in September, 2009

Personally, I loathe spoilers when it comes to fiction. Books, television, movies: it doesn't matter, I only want to know enough to be able to tell if it's something I want to read or see. I've been reading Cheryl's blog Bread and Bread for a couple of years now, long entertained by the humor in her anecdotes. If her book had been available at my library, I would've checked it out without a second thought. I'm typically a read it, love it, then buy it sort of person.

The tipping point that lead me to buy first, read later was an interview Cheryl conducted for The Bilerico Project, a roundup of queer news and opinion, with Terry Wolverton about being gay writers of different generations. The beauty of it for me is that there's no spoilers since it's about Wolverton's book, but you still get a feel for Cheryl's, as well as a taste of her A-game writing (it's excellent).

Wolverton subsequently interviewed Klein and wrote a good non-spoilery teaser:
In Lilac Mines, the twenty-something protagonist, Felix Ketay, finds her identity collapsing when the structures that held supported it--her relationship to Eva, a po-mo-sexual lawyer; her copywriting job for a fashion magazine; and the assumption that being queer in West Hollywood in 2002 is without danger--begin to collapse. She seeks refuge with her lesbian aunt in the small town of Lilac Mines and tries to mine the history of an earlier generation to better understand herself.
I really enjoyed Lilac Mines. Her characters are distinct; even those who are only around for a short while feel as though they have lives that continue beyond the page. The multiple plot lines are easy to follow and deftly interwoven, an impressive feat considering the scope of the story. Inventive metaphors and similes made me smile as I read. In Lilac Mines, I see an author who loves language, squeezing every drop out of it.

Well worth a read even if you have to pony up the cash to buy it.
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