November 21st, 2008

iron fist

Always stay in the blue place.

Always by Nicola Griffith.

Let me be clear as crystal: Nicola Griffith is one of my favorite authors. I’d been keeping this behind “break in case of emergency” glass because I like to have something of hers unread in case I need her desperately, but I gave up & broke it to fix a craving. So I’m going to crow & rave about this, just take that as a given. This is the third of her detective stories featuring Aud (rhymes-with-“crowd”) Torvingen, the six foot two former sociopath. Aud is, to some degree, Nicola’s self-referential character: Griffith is also a giant former martial arts instructor. Former, because in nineteen ninety-three Nicola Griffith was diagnosed with MS. MS is particularly germane to this work, rearing its plaquey head in the last third; the first time I’ve seen her break the subject into her fiction. The first of these books, The Blue Place is frankly breathtaking. Aud carves out a niche as a character, & when people make fun of her for being a Disney villainess—well, you can imagine there wasn’t anyway I couldn’t adore her. Stay, the second book, made some mis-steps. The “ghost” business. Now, I’m glad, frankly, that Ms. Griffith is experimenting with her writing but in Stay, I don’t think it worked. Always has some lit tricks, mostly in the form of two narratives being interwoven as alternating chapters, but it most definitely works.

I think I was sold completely with the first line of the Atlanta story: “Self defense is not just a skill, it’s a worldview. Like the scientific method—or religion, or motherhood…” Hot damn, write away! Also, this book is much less “lets tell a mystery story,” & much more “lets put this hard-bitten killer of killers into her life & see how she behaves.” Aud, the recovering sociopath—I mentioned that right? I think I mentioned that—has a few communication issues, a big hole as far as empathy goes, & is pretty much fatally deadly with her hands or her charisma. The stories interweave only psychologically, but do echo across one another in the interior monologue of Aud. I will say as the heteronorm reading the story that I was bummed that Dornan just keeps losing his girlfriends. Poor berk. Really, I wonder just how much of this story is the loveletter to Nicola Griffith’s wife, Kelly Eskridge who io9 just reviewed today by coincidence. Is this the mix-n-match puzzle? Aud plus Kick equals Nicola plus Kelly? I’m just idly speculating—frankly, I’ll be speculating, since I’ve now run out of things of hers to read!
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lay down date.

so i've been pretty leg-lamp fragile lately for no good reason. fingertips chopped off & i'm touching everything with stumps of bone. i'm ready for this liminal period to melt away, to dissolve like ribbons of milk in coffee. i had big plans for last night, the last night of being alive, but they ended up with me in bed, hiding under the covers. instead of me taking care of my sick wife, it was her tucking me into bed at the end of the afternoon. back to the exhaustion equation, somehow. maybe part of the reason i've been so eggshells is that i've been having nightmares again. or remembering them, anyway.

television on wednesday was really fun. there was no lilly or pamela or victoria, just the core group. i bought sandwiches from the local butchers & they were full of pepper & olive oil. let me admit off the bat that i have given up on predicting america's next top model. tyra is unpredictable, unpossible. at least the final three were all alright; anyone to dethrone whitney, please! though beyond that, i had it backwards-- i thought mckey would go home first & that analeigh would take the cup. this is why i don't do pools & wagers. how i met your mother was fine & great. pushing daisies was once again the "please other people watch this show so it doesn't go away!" good. but the real cake-taker was the pick-up artist 2. the boys finally have some game. not a lot of game, but some. there is finally a learning curve. & mystery was very batted eyelash this episode, very funny. last night, season three of veronica mars tricked me into thinking logan & logan from gilmore girls were going to be brothers! i sure liked the logans.
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