Sunday, October 30, 2011
Why I Am Afraid of Turning the Page
by Cate Marvin
Spokes, spooks: your tinsel hair weaves the wheel
that streams through my dreams of battle. Another
apocalypse, and your weird blondeness cycling in
and out of the march: down in a bunker, we hunker,
can hear the boots from miles off clop. We tend to
our flowers in the meantime. And in the meantime,
a daughter is born. She begins as a mere inch, lost
in the folds of a sheet; it's horror to lose her before
she's yet born. Night nurses embody the darkness.
Only your brain remains, floating in a jar that sits
in a lab far off, some place away, and terribly far.
Your skull no longer exists, its ash has been lifted
to wind from a mountain's top by brothers, friends.
I am no friend. According to them. Accordion, the
child pulls its witching wind between its opposite
handles: the lungs of the thing grieve, and that is
its noise. She writhes the floor in tantrum. When
you climbed the sides of the house spider-wise to
let yourself in, unlocked the front door, let me in
to climb up into your attic the last time I saw you
that infected cat rubbed its face against my hand.
Wanting to keep it. No, you said. We are friends.
I wear my green jacket with the furred hood. You
pushed me against chain-length. Today is the day
that the planet circles the night we began. A child
is born. Night nurses coagulate her glassed-in crib.
Your organs, distant, still float the darkness of jars.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
With Room, author Emma Donoghue has brought us the story of Jack and Ma, a chillingly illicit tale of imprisonment, love, and survival. Room is half thriller, half lullaby and timed to the most unnervingly modern of cultural heartbeats. Told in the voice of five year old Jack, is the story of the young boy's life in an 11 by 11 square foot shed. Jack lives peacefully, never quite aware of the growing desperation of his 26 year old mother, who was snatched on her way to the library seven years earlier and trapped in Room by the harsh and mysterious and "Old Nick."
Most chillingly personal to me was his mother's age - mine exactly at the time I was reading Room. With references to the early 2000's when I myself was a college student, I found myself many times in his mother's shoes, vibrant, young and vulnerable. How easily could his mother's plight have become mine? How easily could it have belonged to many close friends?
Jack is confused and mesmerized about the things his mother talks about from her old life "Outside" - Everything from iPods and Facebook to hammocks and grass. Donoghue at once touches on the innocence and frivolity of the free world.
In Room, Jack and his mother are provided with a few small pleasures- Books - such as Twilight and The Da Vinci Code, an analog television set, where they watch everything from Dora the Explorer to Lady GaGa and Kayne West. As I said, the novel's timing is dead-on, and the constant cultural references are sure to hit close to home for most readers.
Jack is often revealing the sometimes subtle, sometimes blindingly obvious truth without ever fully realizing it himself. (In that familiar way children often do.) It is along with Jack's own growing awareness that the true horror of his mother's experience becomes apparent to the reader.
And so the novel begins here, with Jack' s peaceful world shifting into something that can't contain him or his mother much longer -- it is here that this reluctant little hero's epic journey begins, and with Jack's help, Donoghue will take readers on a trip they won't soon forget.