anactoria: (Default)
So, Kitchen did turn out to be pretty faily. I tend to think that even the most tired storylines can be redeemed by treatment of the characters that makes them real and compelling, but these really... weren't. :-/ The trans mother carried on being happy, smiley and reassuring until she got murdered by a stalker so that the het folks could learn that Life Goes On (AGH), the narrator and her boyfriend were both so undeveloped that there really didn't seem to be much difference between them, and all of the other characters were so minor they don't really bear mentioning. I am not necessarily against writing things with a light hand, but here it really felt as though the characters were puppets being moved around by the author, and not in an intentional postmodern kind of way. Which also made the faily parts seem like author-fail, rather than character-fail. Very disappointing.

I also read Autofiction by Hitomi Kanehara, which is in the fairly well worn mentally-ill-young-woman-memoir genre and doesn't exactly break any new ground, but there was something very visceral and nasty about it that I quite liked.

Next I should probably read something for my thesis. I'm going to read a book about monster hunters in popular culture instead. It even has a bit about Watchmen, though I'm not exactly sure how they qualify as monster hunters? Hmm.
anactoria: (Default)
So, Kitchen did turn out to be pretty faily. I tend to think that even the most tired storylines can be redeemed by treatment of the characters that makes them real and compelling, but these really... weren't. :-/ The trans mother carried on being happy, smiley and reassuring until she got murdered by a stalker so that the het folks could learn that Life Goes On (AGH), the narrator and her boyfriend were both so undeveloped that there really didn't seem to be much difference between them, and all of the other characters were so minor they don't really bear mentioning. I am not necessarily against writing things with a light hand, but here it really felt as though the characters were puppets being moved around by the author, and not in an intentional postmodern kind of way. Which also made the faily parts seem like author-fail, rather than character-fail. Very disappointing.

I also read Autofiction by Hitomi Kanehara, which is in the fairly well worn mentally-ill-young-woman-memoir genre and doesn't exactly break any new ground, but there was something very visceral and nasty about it that I quite liked.

Next I should probably read something for my thesis. I'm going to read a book about monster hunters in popular culture instead. It even has a bit about Watchmen, though I'm not exactly sure how they qualify as monster hunters? Hmm.
anactoria: (d world)
Oh God, I want this so much. Veg macarons without icky egg replacer, yes plz. Why yes, I am obsessed with desserts at the moment.

In other news, I finished Sixteen Shades of Crazy. The ending seemed like a massive cop-out at first, but the more I think about the more it makes sense. [Spoiler alert!] For a lot of people in that kind of situation, there isn't a lot of difference to be made through True Love or positive thinking or whatever; a decent amount of money actually is more help, even though admitting it goes against pretty much every storytelling convention I've internalized.

Currently reading Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto. A lot of it is very understated and I like how the author writes about grief, but the 'magical-sparkly-unicorn-with-no-internalization' portrayal of the character who is trans is making me nervous. I hope it doesn't turn into a big pile of fail. :-/
anactoria: (d world)
Oh God, I want this so much. Veg macarons without icky egg replacer, yes plz. Why yes, I am obsessed with desserts at the moment.

In other news, I finished Sixteen Shades of Crazy. The ending seemed like a massive cop-out at first, but the more I think about the more it makes sense. [Spoiler alert!] For a lot of people in that kind of situation, there isn't a lot of difference to be made through True Love or positive thinking or whatever; a decent amount of money actually is more help, even though admitting it goes against pretty much every storytelling convention I've internalized.

Currently reading Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto. A lot of it is very understated and I like how the author writes about grief, but the 'magical-sparkly-unicorn-with-no-internalization' portrayal of the character who is trans is making me nervous. I hope it doesn't turn into a big pile of fail. :-/
anactoria: (Default)
So I've handed in the draft of my second chapter and finished (regular) work for the summer, and I'm rediscovering the reading of actual books, for pleasure rather than work purposes! I'm currently about halfway through Sixteen Shades of Crazy by Rachel Trezise, with whose writing I have a kind of love-hate relationship. On the one hand, it's often pretty bad. Her prose is often stilted and riddled with clichés, she nicks lines from song lyrics and plonks them in where she thinks no-one will notice, and seriously, nearly every chapter in this novel begins in the same, "It was Wednesday night, and Ellie was walking home from work..."/"It was Saturday, and Ellie was on her way to the pub..." format.

However. Her first novel, In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl, suffered from the same faults (uneven plotting, heavy-handedness, greeting-card shorthand) to a much greater degree, and -- aside from the ending, which I like to just ignore -- I loved it. It was a thinly fictionalised version of Trezise's own teenage diaries, and very much read that way, but it also had the kind of undisguised emotional rawness that's more familiar to me from confessional poetry and Courtney Love records than novels. Trezise writes about life in the South Wales valleys, and there's something in the way she captures it that really resonates very strongly with me. I'm from the Eastern Valleys, not the Rhondda (though I do spend a hell of a lot of time there) but at the heart of it I think the issue is the same. It's not just the unemployment and rampant drug use (which is worse there than here, I believe) but the sense of being caught between aspiration and a desire to get the hell out, and a wish to remain loyal to a national identity and a culture which can often be insular, somewhat sexist, and vehemently, proudly anti-intellectual. The way she handles that in the psychology of her protagonist, Ellie, has been beautiful so far. I'm actually almost afraid to carry on reading, in case the ugly revelations which will no doubt come out later in the novel hit too close to home. ;)

She also has an occasionally brilliant ear for dialogue. ("And rub ewer foundation in. Ewe look like a fuckin' baked bean." Something I've often felt the urge to say to say to girls on the valley line train, though not in so many words, they'd probably punch me.)

In other news, I'm heading up to sunny Cambridge tomorrow to visit my sister and hopefully imbibe quite a lot of wine. I'll post up the next section of The Deadly Light sometime on Wednesday, I expect.
anactoria: (Default)
So I've handed in the draft of my second chapter and finished (regular) work for the summer, and I'm rediscovering the reading of actual books, for pleasure rather than work purposes! I'm currently about halfway through Sixteen Shades of Crazy by Rachel Trezise, with whose writing I have a kind of love-hate relationship. On the one hand, it's often pretty bad. Her prose is often stilted and riddled with clichés, she nicks lines from song lyrics and plonks them in where she thinks no-one will notice, and seriously, nearly every chapter in this novel begins in the same, "It was Wednesday night, and Ellie was walking home from work..."/"It was Saturday, and Ellie was on her way to the pub..." format.

However. Her first novel, In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl, suffered from the same faults (uneven plotting, heavy-handedness, greeting-card shorthand) to a much greater degree, and -- aside from the ending, which I like to just ignore -- I loved it. It was a thinly fictionalised version of Trezise's own teenage diaries, and very much read that way, but it also had the kind of undisguised emotional rawness that's more familiar to me from confessional poetry and Courtney Love records than novels. Trezise writes about life in the South Wales valleys, and there's something in the way she captures it that really resonates very strongly with me. I'm from the Eastern Valleys, not the Rhondda (though I do spend a hell of a lot of time there) but at the heart of it I think the issue is the same. It's not just the unemployment and rampant drug use (which is worse there than here, I believe) but the sense of being caught between aspiration and a desire to get the hell out, and a wish to remain loyal to a national identity and a culture which can often be insular, somewhat sexist, and vehemently, proudly anti-intellectual. The way she handles that in the psychology of her protagonist, Ellie, has been beautiful so far. I'm actually almost afraid to carry on reading, in case the ugly revelations which will no doubt come out later in the novel hit too close to home. ;)

She also has an occasionally brilliant ear for dialogue. ("And rub ewer foundation in. Ewe look like a fuckin' baked bean." Something I've often felt the urge to say to say to girls on the valley line train, though not in so many words, they'd probably punch me.)

In other news, I'm heading up to sunny Cambridge tomorrow to visit my sister and hopefully imbibe quite a lot of wine. I'll post up the next section of The Deadly Light sometime on Wednesday, I expect.

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