“Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.” – Friedrich Nietzche
Palimpsest – Catherynne M. Valente
The name isn’t easy. Neither is the story. But I am glad I read it and I would encourage people to pick it up.
Catherynne Valente has made a story about a city that is sexually transmitted. Just roll with it. It’s a fairy tale. Or more… it’s fairy tales. And like all real fairy stories, it is not easy.
This is an adult fairy story with adult themes of loss and love and motherhood and isolation and need and cruelty and war and everything and nothing at all. And the deals one makes to stay in the beautiful, insane, dark, lovely, brooding, delirium of the city are hard.
You can find what you need in Palimpsest, but it is not an easy path. And for some the path will be forever closed. It’s beautiful, but cruel. There is love, but there is also obsession. The deals need blood or suffering or forgiveness or utter joy. To live in Palimpsest you have to give yourself over to something. To heal a scar of war or to build the beautiful corner of a map.
To find your way to this wonderland you have to be reckless and a little wonton. It is almost an addiction, but always a connection — brief connection. Because you can’t go there alone.
I can’t explain the book, I can only say that I loved the experience of it. And it is satisfying on an emotional level.
I would recommend it for people who like Russian literature and people who like poetry and people who jump down the rabbit hole of surrealism and magical realism with abandon.
This is *not* for someone who likes a straight-forward mystery or is looking for a quick adventure.
“In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
“There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” – Henry Kissinger
Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
The King is Always About the People – Daniel Alarcon
The Man Who Couldn’t Stop – David Adam
The Sea is Ours – Ed. Jaymee Goh & Joyce Chng
The Crow’s Dinner – Jonathan Carroll
The Glass Town Game – Catherynne M. Valente
Skavenger’s Hunt – Mike Rich
The Genius Plague – David Walton
Murder, Magic, and What We Wore – Kelly Jones
Dragons: The Modern Infestation – Pamela Wharton Blanpied
“Outer space is no place for a person of breeding.” – Lady Violet Bonham Carter
“The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.” – Harlan Ellison