Blue stars and lambs and the moon and Genet and poetry and huaraches and magic.
These are just a few of the words used time and time again in this memoir to make sure the reader understands that this is a book about an artist talking about the life of an artist and the sacrifices one must make for art and the art of Art.
It is not a wonderful book, nor is it a terrible book; it exists somewhere in the space carved out by a constant motion between these two extremes. Take, for example, these two sentences from a three paragraph description of the famed Chelsea Hotel, the first, a wonderfully evocative and succinct sentence, begins the passage, while the second, a tragic mess of half-images, concludes it- 1. The Chelsea was like a doll's house in the Twilight Zone, with a hundred rooms, each a small universe. 2. I sniffed out their spirits as I silently scurried from floor to floor, longing for discourse with a gone procession of smoking caterpillars.
As an artist working and living in New York City for 15 years now, I was inspired by her descriptions of how influential people moved in and out of her life. And throughout the book there are interesting tidbits of information mixed in with an endearing portrait of young love and the wistful, romantic remembrances of a time gone by. Reading this book was like reading a love letter- to Robert Maplethorpe, to New York, and the artistic process. And, in the end, who doesn't like a good love letter?
Yes, we all know how that adage ends... but come on,
who hasn't grabbed a book off the shelf because of the cover?
Something about it entices you- perhaps it is a color, a font, a texture, an image, the title, an author's name- so you look at the front, decide if you want to read the back, read the back, then decide if you want to invest your time and energy reading the contents of the book. Happens all the time. But as far as I can remember
I have never read a book strictly because of the cover.
Meet exit here.
This is the book I bought yesterday based solely on the design.
I haven't read it yet.
I hardly want to open it for fear of cracking the spine.
It is gorgeous.
* I've been looking at this post for a few days now and I gotta tell you the cover just doesn't look good online. In person it is stunning. The matte finish, the white edging, the muted colors, the precisely placed text- it is really sophisticated and evocative. You'll just have to trust me...or go to a bookstore and find it yourself. It will look like something pulled from a Chelsea gallery sitting amongst hundreds of children's Paint by Numbers.
I really wanted to like this book more than I did... but something about it just didn't land with me. There was great suspense in the beginning and an interesting intersection of voices, but as I read on the plot became too obvious and the multiple voices inauthentic. Also, the metaphoric quality of the Isidora story line felt forced. Too bad. It had so much potential. And yet it is winning awards out the wazoo. Check it out.
The agent Nathan Bransford maintains an amazing blog. You should definitely add it to the list of those that you follow.
Today's post was actually written by a guest blogger, Bryan Russell of Alchemy of Writing. So many of us have a 184.108.40.206.5 like Russell, but so rarely does life follow the order we try and impose upon it. His post is a very moving reminder of how those things that we think interrupt our writing ultimately strengthen it.
So, it looks like Bloomsbury is again whitewashing their book covers. What a shame.
I'm sure we all remember that Bloomsbury was responsible for the controversy regarding Liar by Justine Larbalestier and it seems that they didn't use that moment to reassess their design decisions. Unless of course all of this is a publicity stunt- take the bad press for a bit, rerelease the book with an appropriate cover, and then wait as the revenue rolls in. Yuck.
So, in order to celebrate properly, how about another contest for my perfectly adorable and deserving readers? What, what's that I hear...
a resounding yes!
here it is...
Inexactly150wordsdescribeforme what you would do with $150,000.00.
Not that I am going to give you a $150,000.00, mind you, but let's all just play pretend for a bit and imagine one hundred and fifty thousand buckaroos dropped into our laps. What would you do with it?
It has been so long since I last wrote and in that time so much has happened! I celebrated my 32nd birthday, the Christmas holiday, and New Years Eve (which is also my parent's wedding anniversary), spent a week in the Santa Cruz mountains working on the first draft of my creative thesis, and had some quality time (and home cooked meals) with my family. Yay.
Now, after a month on vacation, I'm back in New York City and I'm not quite sure what to do with myself! It's all chores and errands and projects to finish...
But instead of doing any of that, I got myself a cup of coffee and sat down at the computer whereupon I stumbled on this passage in the NY Times Book Review:
Like all good narrators, she isn’t entirely trustworthy, but she’s articulate, critical and thoroughly engaged, such interesting company that the reader may not need to know whether that adolescent house-burning was really an accident. She’s a formidable woman, and her story doesn’t hinge on a Big Reveal.
I wonder about that first part. Would you say that's true? Are all "good narrators" a bit untrustworthy?
From "A Word From the Nearly Distant Past" by David Levithan: We watch Erik Johnson as he lays the clothes on his bed, creating an outline of the person he's going to be tonight.
From "Night Life" by Bruce Holland Rogers: She woke while it was still dark except for under the table where the night light glowed, and she heard the mousy sounds of the sleeping house and the whisper of trees moving against the moon.
From "How to Talk to Your Mother" by Lorrie Moore: He plants kisses on the sloping ramp of your neck, and you fall asleep against him, your underpants peeled and rolled around one thigh like a bride’s garter.