Nina Gomez's Reviews > Mud Vein

Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher
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's review
Jul 28, 2013

it was amazing
Read from February 25 to 26, 2014

This is probably not the best book to kick start my first review in months. Despite having read it before it was unleashed into the world, it has taken me this long to process my thoughts and recognize the true feelings that I have about this book. Of course, I refuse to put the blame entirely on Tarryn Fisher. After all, our reaction to different books stems partly from our frame of mind at the point in time where we pick up a book and read it. We interpret other authors’ words according to how our minds see fit. We all know that the mind is a very powerful thing. It won’t allow you to be pulled out of the darkness if it doesn’t feel like it. It also makes you believe in things that sometimes don’t even exist. So you must be asking, what the heck is she talking about? Why is she rambling on like a crazy person about her state of mind? If you’re patient enough to sit through this review, you will catch on pretty quickly. I know this because I have faith in your intelligence. I believe in your ability to cut through the words of a writer such as this one and feel.

Just feel.

The bad thing about writing a review of a friend’s book late in the day is that he or she might think you don’t care. The good thing about it is that you are able to read piles and piles of commentary on the book to allow yourself to be more discerning with your words, more concrete about your thoughts. So much has been said about this book that I hope not to repeat. And since you also know that I don’t give spoilers, I won’t be rehashing much about the story.

Senna Richards is angry. Kidnapped and trapped in a home that offers no escape, her first focus is on survival. Things don’t change for her once she finds out that she is not alone. Learning that she’s with someone from her past confuses her. We learn about the role that Isaac played in her past. Here he is now, taking care of her, looking out for her protection. And yet, she spends most of their time together determined to find out the reason for their entrapment. When moments of reminiscence occur, she remains stoic, believing only in the ugliness of her life. No one, not even the man she once loved can pull her out of her darkness. Senna survives on agony. This is because she can no longer feel a thing. She is dead. She holds no qualms about physical pain. She hurts herself when others hurt her. She is so entombed in her sorrow that she fails to recognize the love that Isaac always had for her. He saved her on the day that she ran out of the woods, he gave her sustenance to keep her alive. And as they spend their days together, she slowly emerges out of the ground. She realizes how much he means to her, how his presence in the house has allowed her to subsist.

They have a few light moments (albeit rare). They hold on to each other.

And then the tables are turned. She saves him.

Tarryn Fisher is truly a master of words, a craftsman who creates a story with painstaking detail, assembling together intricate pieces of a puzzle whose shapes fit perfectly into various grooves and spaces. The eloquence of every single phrase, the symbolism of every object – they make us think, they educate us, they remind us that we are clever and intellectual. That words don’t need to be dumbed down, that sex need not be a central part of a story to keep us stimulated and satisfied. She takes us on a journey of emotions that never leave us, an expedition that allows us to observe our surroundings through the curious eyes of a child – questioning, mulling, analyzing, discovering.

This author has written a story that is many things to many people. To some, it is a book of death and denial and the loss of hope. To others, it is a testament to the brevity of life, the uselessness of holding on to things that don’t matter. And so herein lies the tie in between this book and my state of mind. I didn’t go into this book with a happy disposition. It was a time in my life where I was lost and confused. So this book took me to another destination. It answered my questions about what matters most. It showed me that pain and hurt and sorrow and even love– they’re all a necessary part of life.

But life is fleeting and transitory.

When you’re pushed to the very limit of your physical endurance, what really remains?

The human spirit does. Senna holds no value for her physical sense – the cutting, the cancer, her disregard for her physical beauty. There is nothing that Isaac can do to save her body. He is helpless against the sickness of her heart. But he saves her all the same. He salvages her spirit.

The human spirit is resilient and strong. It bounces back when life renders your body beaten and disfigured. This is the message of the book that resonates with me. That anger and sadness make you strong. That character is built by strife. That we all fight for something. And that in the end, we all survive.

Most of you have written about the layers in this book. Layers that mean different things to different people. Some of you have taken literal meanings from the objects scattered within the pages and interpreted them so fluently. Others have searched for the silver lining and were upset at not having found it. Most of us emerged beaten and bruised, worn down and torn up about how the story had ended. But not for me. I maintained my composure. I channeled my despair into optimism, knowing that Senna would make the most of what was left to her. I didn’t drown in darkness. I floated away in light.

And it didn’t hurt to have that can of sweet corn by my side.

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Reading Progress

07/28/2013 marked as: to-read
02/25/2014 marked as: currently-reading
02/26/2014 marked as: read

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