Lou's Reviews > Stone Arabia

Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta
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's review
Jul 10, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: arc, july-read

You will find in this novel some swell writing, the story flows well and touches many issues of the modern era. The protagonist Denise rambles on life, the bubble around her brother Nik the music artist and her mother Ada who is slowly heading down the Dementia road. The story includes real news headlines from timeline of 1978 to 2004 and the protagonists take on it and her heart felt view on matters. Lots of family stuff what could have been, what’s liked and disliked.

This book takes me back to Freedom by Franzen, but Spiotta connects better with Denise’s plight and the world around her, philosophical, intelligent and witty. The book’s ending could be better but I think the writer knows better than me the plotting of her story. That brings on a thought can perfection lead to insanity if you don’t balance the scales in life.


“Written words demand the deep attention that spoken words just aren’t entitled to. Writers get to pull something solid out of our relentless, everyday production of verbal mucilage. A writer is a word salvager and scavenger and distiller.”

“I have discovered how much memory can dissolve under pressure. The more I try to hold on to my ability to remember, the more it seems to escape my grasp.

I find this terrifying. I have become alarmed at my inability to recall basic facts of the past, and I have worked to improve things. I have been studying various techniques and even tricks, and I should employ them. Memory, it seems, clings to things. Named things. Spaces. Senses.”

“I believe I know that photos have actually destroyed our memories. Every time we take a photograph, we forget to embed things in our minds, in our actual brain cells. The taking of the photograph gets us off the hook, in a way, from trying to remember. I’ll take a photo so I can remember this moment. But what you are actually doing is leaving it out of your brain’s jurisdiction and relying on Polaroid’s, Kodak paper, little disintegrating squares glued in albums.”

“When I think of my family, I think that our history really lives in our bodies. The mind distorts and fails, but the body endures until it doesn’t, and up until that moment it held it all. I knew that when she died, it would be her body I would remember, her physical presence, and to recall any part of her body her smell, her hair would make me weep and grieve for her.”

“The Beslan School broke her open, but what purpose did it serve? What was a person supposed to do with all of this feeling? Feeling nothing was subhuman, but feeling everything, like this, in a dark room in the middle of the night, by yourself, did no one any good. Certainly not Denise, who held her head and wept, and watched two hours of breaking, beating new coverage. Of children and blood and chaos. Each possibility, not feeling or feeling, each response was inadequate.

The worst part would come tomorrow, when they repeated these images over and over; or the day after, when the world out there would move to the next thing, the next terrifying and electrifying and stupefying thing. Are we supposed to forget? If not forget, then what?”

Visit webpage for trailer and other stuff.
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Reading Progress

July 10, 2011 – Shelved
July 12, 2011 – Shelved as: arc
July 12, 2011 – Shelved as: july-read
July 27, 2011 – Started Reading
July 27, 2011 –
page 125
July 28, 2011 –
page 256
July 28, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Aloha (new) - added it

Aloha Thank you, Lou! This looks like another great read.

message 2: by Magdelanye (new) - added it

Magdelanye just followed up this tantalizing review of yours and must now congratulate you on a great blog.
Now the challenge to find this book as it is really new.

message 3: by Lou (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lou Many thanks for the nice comments.

switterbug (Betsey) I am currently reading this! Synchronciity!

switterbug (Betsey) I liked it slightly more than you, but you nailed it, imho. I like the Franzen comparison, also!

Patricia Her mother is not Ada, it's her daughter

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