Thursday, April 06, 2017

White Tears

"I do not know if I have ever been alive.  How would I tell?  Where in the living creature does life actually lie?  No single part of a cell is alive.  And life itself is just an aggregate of non-living processes, chemical reactions cascading, birthing complexity.  There is no clear border between life and non-life.  Once you realize that, so much else unravels."

I've just spent a couple of days unraveling.   An outsider meets and insider and they create their own inside by taking from another circle from which they are excluded.  And one of the insiders of that group, from another time, comes to claim his due.  Time merges one period into another.
"Time is flattened here in the back room"
At times I was lost, hoping that author Hari Kunzru hadn't abandoned me somewhere on the road, as he abandoned characters. (He always came back to get me.)

Cover (by Peter Mendelsund) close up
Kunzru paints words and sounds onto pages shortcutting conventions, but not shortchanging the reader. An ethereal musician says:
"Since I was a child I could always play, always find the thread of what I was feeing and follow it up and down the strings." 
I just finished the last lines today.
"The needle vibrates, punctures my face just below my left eye.  The tattooist's homemade gun is powered by a motor from an old CD player.  The ink is made out of soot.  Four tears, one each for Carter, Leonie and their parents. I listen to the buzz of the motor and think of what I learned by listening through the crackle and hiss, into the past:  they either add dollars or days and if you don't have dollars, all you have to give is days."

I'll write more.  But first I need to let it sink in.  I may even reread it before I try to write more.  This is just an appetizer.  This is no ordinary book.  The inside of the dust jacket tells you beautifully about the story and yet it tells you nothing.  How this book even arrived at my door is a story in itself.  More soon.

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