Some forty years ago, in Jackson, not far Loring, a similar bottle of Four Roses was opened. It’s a significant detail in this story of the Cole sisters, that ends where it began, that comes full circle, with many detours along the way. Individuals, with marked differences, both sisters are resilient, vulnerable, and passionate, characters so life-like a reader feels “the air making contact with their skin.”
With a novel this boldly experimental, it is hard to get very far in a discussion of influences without Beckett’s name coming up. But that is just one of the names in a diverse stew. Dinesh said that Beckett and others represent some of the less conscious influences here, and other visionaries more directly inspired the themes, tone, and style of This Place That Place.
But don’t read Hutch for the plot, read it for the language–seductive, entertaining and leading readers wonderfully astray. Insert your own line breaks and it can at times read like poetry, or a game of word pick up sticks. A throw away character is “a wonky Christian philanthropist—now a resident of Quebec.” The effect of Gunty’s linguistic pile ons are like a Wes Anderson movie.
Stalker Stalked nails the chaos and uber-dramaticism of reality television with Lexi’s self-destructive nature making the implosion of her life equally satisfying and tragic. The plummeting decay of order aligns well with the reality television aesthetic, compounded by explicit and raunchy scenes, the novel certainly appeals to lovers of messy dramas, chick-flics, and reality shows.
Kimberly Garrett Brown has written an outstanding novel which rings true as a depiction of a budding writer and conveys an important message about overlapping, concurrent forms of oppression.
I was drawn to the novel because of geographic sentiment, being a Canadian raised on a small farm in the rigorous climate of Northern Ontario, and having relatives who live on the northern shore of Lake Superior. I was soon caught up in a timely story, full of vivid imagery and unforgettable characters – a tragedy in a beautiful landscape.
Some genuine laugh-out-loud moments poke fun at the British, perhaps unintentionally. There’s a wonderful mini-plot around llamas which draws a chuckle, whilst the actual detectives in the story are bumbling but not unbelievable.
This isn’t to say that the characters in The Filthy Marauders aren’t memorable. If anything the opposite is true; Freville’s gift seems to lie in his ability to craft flesh-and-blood eccentrics with voices that are all their own. It is only too disappointing that he has more enthusiasm for their suffering than he does for their redemption.
This meticulous nature of her research into each story marks her out from other writers. This is again evident in another beautiful story where a Parsi youth is obsessed with creating his own brand of perfume (Parfum). Rochelle goes into a heady mixture of the scents and perfumes employed. She even has a lab where the protagonist works to manufacture that one perfume that can be his own. Finally, instead of his wife, he finds solace in the arms of a maid whose function is merely to be like a springboard of scents.
Cold Enough for Snow is a deeply beautiful novel, richly potent in its themes, while resisting simple explication. It reads quickly, driven forward by the tension between presence and absence, love and shame, caring and being cared for, past and present, belonging and otherness, while its meaning unfolds slowly, lingering.