January 14, 2009

Something like a book review, kinda.

Still She Haunts Me is "some sort of pedophile book," as Lauren put it, but the prose is beautiful. There is not a bold enough, italicized enough font for me emphasize that. My two favorite parts:

Picnics had always appealed to him, shaking everything up, taking everything out of its place, boiled eggs and little silver salt shakers on the grass, flower patterns on good china competing with ants, linen balanced on laps. The architecture of society falling away, the walls and doors and addresses that divide suddenly opening into air and sky and tree--everyone jumbled together under a canopy of leaves. p 23

He spent hours in his room worrying about basic facets of life that other people glided over, like the afternoon he realized that time moved slower for him that for his seven-year-old sister, Elizabeth, because each minute that passed was a greater proportion of his life than hers. This thought nagged at him , made him anxious, since time was supposed to be the same for everyone, the absolute unit of measurement upon which everyone could agree, five minutes, a half hour, but it wasn't. Time bent and swayed depending on who you were. p 24

They may not be my absolute favorites, but they caught my eye early on when I had a pen nearby to mark the pages with.
As the story progresses the reader can see Charles Dodgson (his real name) as a predator. Mrs. Liddell, Alice's mother, has a bad feeling about him, but I don't think that the character himself sees it that way. At one point he decides he should ask for her hand, because she is something like two years from the age at which she can be betrothed, and he'll just wait for her to be of marrying age.
There is a lot of conflict within Dodgson. Though his consciousness doesn't seem to recognize that he is a threat to Alice, he obsesses over her. His subconscious knows that there is something very, very bad going on, and he regularly has terrifying nightmares about her.
I was afraid I might have an aversion to Lewis Carroll after reading Katie Roiphe's historical fiction, she writes so convincingly. Thankfully, the event that causes the rift between the Liddell family and Dodgson is not as severe as I began to fear it would be as Dodgson's obsession increased. It makes it possible for me to still appreciate Lewis Carroll's writings, with the offense not as horrific as it could have been.

No comments: