Suburban evils

11 01 2014

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Just finished Blind Crescent by Michelle Berry, a tale of a group of families living on a suburban cul de sac that follows well on the bizarre family relationships of August:Osago County. Initially in this story, you feel a bit like the suburban site is safely enclosing the residents, but decay is creeping ever closer. There’s risk outside, in the form of a sniper taking out random drivers, and there’s risk on the crescent in the form of a strange new resident and the shifting relationships of the families.
Unlike August, the characters do move, evolve, grow, learn about themselves.

For me this defines what is so much better about books than movies. The interior lives of the characters are explored in Blind Crescent, not so much that we feel we know everything about them, but enough so that each character becomes interesting to us, someone we can care about, feel for. In “August”, we get to know characters (mainly because of some excellent acting), but no one seems to change or develop or even question their motives. In each story there is suffering and angst, but in Berry’s story, the angst serves a purpose. The characters genuinely care about each other in their way, they learn to care more, they re-prioritize.

The book is excellent. At the end, although troubles still remain, you feel as if some sort of resolution is pending. The writing is luminous yet effortlessly so – you don’t pause, a la Stella Gibbon in cold comfort farm to star a sentence for its quality. Instead, you are inexorably drawn forward into the story, nailed to your seat by the details and heart in every sentence. You realize immediately that you are in the hands of a great storyteller and relax, let the story take you.

And then be forever grateful you have left the suburbs behind.

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Midnight on a snowy evening…

10 02 2013

There’s something about midnight on a snowy night. Sounds are muffled, few cars are on the road, the plows have already been by and their flashing lights have spun out across the snow.
It’s quiet in my suburban apartment. Too quiet. I can hear the ticking of all the clocks in the apartment, the slight twanging of the heaters.
At times like this, the idea of having another breathing body in this space is enchanting. I miss hearing someone else inhaling and exhaling. I miss curling up in bed with someone, breathing the same air, touching them on the hand or overlapping legs or curling around them. I miss going to bed with someone, having the last laugh of the day together, getting and giving a goodnight kiss.
Of course, that’s the good stuff. After all that, there’s often the snoring (his and mine), the too hot body next to mine, the lack of sprawling space.
I’ve chosen this life, for a bunch of reasons. I’m used to it; I cherish my solitude. Not that I’d never give it up, for the right person…maybe…
There’s this wonderful song that has a line in it : “if she knew what she wants, he’d be giving it to her”. I’ve probably never known what I wanted. I think I want it all – a loving relationship, my own space, enjoyable sex, a bed to myself, someone to laugh with, someone to be quiet with.
It should be possible, right?
Meanwhile I sit here, alone, listening to the ticking, not lonely, not sad, but a wee bit wistful.








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