Friday, May 27, 2011

A bad review is even less important than whether it is raining in Patagonia.

FISH! The Musical. Melbourne Aquarium. April 2011.

A very VERY busy week has seen me across the state and missing all sorts of opportunities (read: lunch breaks) to read. This has seen the measly return of just one completed novel. Thankfully, it was a good one.

The Member of the Wedding is another gem from Carson McCullers, author of last week’s review The Ballad of the Sad CafĂ©.

The tale of twelve-year-old Frankie Addams, who has reached that point of life when one feels disconnected. She has become – in her words – an "unjoined person". Set during the Second World War, Frankie is lost in a world of dreams (all far, far away from the small town in Georgia which she happens to live), she has detached herself from her friends, disconnected from her father (her mother died in at her birth), Frankie’s closest companions are the family's black maid, Berenice Sadie Brown, and her six-year-old cousin, John Henry.

It can be tricky territory, the ‘rite of passage’ novel of a tween, especially when it focuses on with the psychology of the three central characters and an evocation of the setting than it is with action. That said, McCullers pulls it off admirably. That said, this is not the usual ‘coming of age’ story, as there’s a degree of profundity, darkness, and socio-political depth to be found within the usual painful tale of the moment where one’s childhood innocence is brightened by through the illumination of adolescence before the eventual disillusion of adulthood.

As ever, the crushing of childhood dreams is rarely anything less than aching. This is really a very funny, very dark novel. It very casually and effectively weaves an exploration of gender as well as themes of racial and sexual identity into the narrative.

Any work whose emotional impact can transcend geography, age and gender like The Member of the Wedding is to be recommended. I think that you should read it.

Shark! The Interpretive Dance Spectalular. Melbourne Aquarium. April 2011.


Roddy said...

I can just imagine the fun cleaning the glass.
Did the shark just make a cameo, or was he a main player?

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I've never read the book, yes,saw the movie and like "To Kill a Mockingbird" it was stellar. I'm a fan of American gothic.

btw: it's such a treat to watch your kids grow up via on-line. Beautiful children.

Kris said...

Roddy, the rays are the ones that chew on the divers' heads. They wear stell mesh head guards. The sharks just cruise around.

PA, they are good looking kids. Extraordinarily LOUD, but good lookin'.