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arrakiswitch

A Reciprocal Love Affair With Books

Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.

Currently reading

Miles Morales: Spider-Man (A Marvel YA Novel)
Jason Reynolds, Kadir Nelson
Progress: 206/261 pages

Review: Serena: A Novel

Serena - Ron Rash

One of the most beautifully written modern books I've read; I can see how and why Rash's background is in poetry. The prose is gorgeous but it's never so florid I thought I'd choke on it; it has an... economy to it that suits the both the time period, and the unforgiving characters and setting. And the author is unforgiving. I think that might be the problem most people have with the book, is that they're looking for someone to identify with, to like. Well, there is Rachel and Sheriff McDowell, both likable characters who I sympathized with greatly. And I do admit to feeling for Pemberton as well, as I think you should, even though the book makes his and Serena's sins all to clear and doesn't beg an apology for them. I've seen it called Biblical, or Shakespearean, but really, like the cover of the first edition I read, it's like a stark snapshot of American history, and not a glamorous one. Rash is obviously very familiar with the setting, and comfortable with it, and weaves the history seamlessly with the old cultures and customs of the highlanders. It's mostly in Snipes and his crew that I saw a sort of echo to the larger stories, as they serve as a sort of Greek chorus that keep you apprised of the general sentiment, how much everyone knows about what's happening and what they think about it.And then there's Serena herself. Being mentally ill myself, such an honest portrait of what I took to be a classic case of borderline personality disorder made for a fascinating read. I'd only take issue with the fact that she never self-destructed, because women who live as... intensely as she does almost always do.This book was a wonderful little surprise. I don't usually randomly choose or pick up books like this because they're acclaimed or bestsellers; only because there's something of interest for me. In this case, it was a number of factors, and I'm happy that the book was brought to my attention, because I loved every page of it.