Cornelio's Reviews > Toxicology

Toxicology by Jessica Hagedorn
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's review
Mar 25, 2011

liked it
Read from May 17 to 30, 2011

Hagedorn's novels often construct an arena where making art, finding love, defining meaning, pop culture, and the soul converge to tell some kind of story, where dream-like sequences merge with unapologetic, blunt, raw happenings. This book was no exception, telling the story of interconnected artists in various stages of "fame" and "success" who fight to make art and struggle even more "to make" life. These mostly unhappy characters and trying moments I kept going back to the question if art is worth this price. Not sure the novel tries to answer that question with an emphatic yes or no, but I think the answer may be there's no perfect answer, just like there is no "perfect" life. Being an artist or not being one guarantees neither happiness nor torment. Just living, whatever label you apply to yourself it seems, guarantees some of both. It would be unfair to judge this book merely on the emotional, philosophical discomfort it might cause, except that it makes you face it and think about it, and sometimes that's what the best art can do.
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