Nicole Field's Reviews > The Drowning Girl

The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan
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's review
Aug 26, 2013

really liked it

I finished this two days ago, and I'm still not quite sure how to articulate what I thought about it.

The best comparison I've been able to come up with is that it's somewhere between a patchwork quilt and a collage put into words. This probably makes sense, seeing as how the 'author' makes comment many times of how she is an artist, not a writer. So many stories within stories, comments about what she's doing right now, or about to do, in the midst of memories of the past. It's definitely a combination work.

But that doesn't tell you what this story was about, or if it was good.

As I told people at work who saw what I was reading and commented that it was a strange title, this is a story based from a painting by the same name. I don't know if the painting she writes about is real or imagined (like so much of this story is) and truthfully it doesn't matter, so I haven't searched it out. It works just as well if it's a fake painting, just as the work of classic fiction in A. S. Byatt's Possession also had fictional roots.

The story that follows is one girl's story through her own insanity, an apology to her girlfriend (transgendered, though so little is made of it that it comes across first in a flippant remark that I quoted as I was reading below. This is the way all transgendered characters should be introduced, in my humble opinion), and her own discovery on what was real in a chance interaction with a person called Eva Canning. It's also a ghost story, gothic at heart.

Truth to say, I probably wouldn't read this one again, although I am glad that I read it this time. There were only two passages that were so rambling with insanity that I had to skip past it to get to the next part. It was only after the first 30 pages that I began to note the relevance of all the disparate things that were immediately introduced. A lot of piecing this story into something cogent happens on the part of the reader. To use the metaphor above, it is a collage in the sense that all the pieces you will need to put it together are there; but the assembly is up to you.

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Reading Progress

August 26, 2013 – Shelved
August 26, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
July 25, 2014 – Started Reading
July 26, 2014 –
page 14
4.22% "That's one long stream of consciousness beginning."
July 27, 2014 –
page 23
6.93% ""The importance of fairy tales, and her love for 'The Little Mermaid', as well as her aversion to 'Little Red Riding Hood,' is very much at the heart of the ghost story she's writing.""
July 29, 2014 –
page 41
12.35% ""She didn't even realise I was a tranny until we were leaving to go back to my hotel room.""
July 29, 2014 –
page 93
28.01% ""Verily, I'm an invertebrate. Spineless.""
August 5, 2014 –
page 216
65.06% ""When moving through fairy takes, one must obey the laws of fairy. When moving through a ghost story, Gothic and Victorian law applies.""
August 9, 2014 – Finished Reading

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