There is a great warmth and sincerity embedded within this memoir, mixed in with gentle humour, discussions of complex research on genetics, birth, death, siblings, parents, family, Greek culture, love. The genesis of the story arises from a secret, one of the biggest secrets a person can have revealed to them, that of their true origins.
Put the idea of reading this book of poetry cover to cover to bed. For the reader to have control over direction but not the journey’s destination makes Lindsey Warren’s inventive debut collection, Unfinished Child, read like real life. But moving through the poems also parallels a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book.
Paromita Sengupta’s “Editorial Notes on the Text” as well as “Bibliography” help us understand the text better and stir our desire to know the life and times of the protagonist, Bany Lall, and like-minded youths thoroughly. It is a must read for every Bengalee, nay Indian, who would love to trace the history of the times, seemingly past and lost in the abyss of time.
Kate’s trajectory is one of discomfort and discovery as she unearths, and then rewrites her history and the history of Salt Pan Creek, facing the wrongs she and her people, including her own parents, have done, and attempting to right them. McFarland does a beautiful job of pulling history, fiction, multiple love stories and trauma together into a coherent narrative that is powerful.
The homely, everyday objects of our lives that we take for granted become iconic signposts, saturated with meaning, as time unspools. “My childhood was a safe, dark pocket. Now, nothing feels like my childhood djd.”
This is work that not only provides a different kind of news — engaging with issues like free speech, democracy, aesthetics and ethics – a continual source of interest for Maiden and one she explores with the full weight of her poetic talent, but also allows the reader to see things from a different, and at times, magic realism perspective.
The Weekend is about so many things: preconceptions, societal norms, continuity and difference, about the self and about relationships, but most particularly about friendship and what it means to be both separate individuals in this world throughout life changes, and also the ways in which we are implicitly connected and collective.
Capista is a skilled poet. His verses command the satisfying circularity of those first two poems, the variety of free verse lines, lull of assonance and repetition, questioning of a philosopher’s observations, mesmerizing rhymes occasional or throughout a poem, and pages sprinkled with sonnets and villanelles.
A Superior Spectre is deftly constructed piece of literature. It sits shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the greats. Thematically it is a worthy companion-piece to Angela Carter’s The Passion of New Eve. Structurally it folds like the origami of Italio Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler, and Jennifer Egan’s The Keep. Stylistically it employs some of the fuzzy voice of China Mieville’s This Census Taker, where the who and when of the narrator becomes blended and circular.
Blackford’s prose is silky smooth and the book reads quickly, driven by its fantasy narrative and the way in which historical detail is covered. Though the story has paranormal overtones, shifting as it does between the two timeframes, and the shapeshifting villain and ghosts that move between the worlds, The Girl in the Mirror is relevant to a 21st century reader.