Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Lauren Kirshner, "Where We Have To Go" (2011)

Kirshner's book is one of the rare forays I've made into fiction in the last year. I must admit, at the outset, that I know Lauren, I know her partner, I've hung out in her apartment and played with her cats. So... I won't offer much of a critical assessment, in large part because I feel ill-equipped to comment on the quality of fiction writing outside of my own gut response to it.

Essentially, the book tells the story of a teenage girl, Lucy Bloom, who lives in Toronto with her fractious parents (for at least part of the story). I couldn't help but wonder, given the 'girl coming of age-type narrative, whether the protagonist's name was a nod to Judy Blume, author of 'preteen girl-books' such as Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret. I've never read Blume's books, so I could be far off the mark here.

As someone who grew up male, in a rural environment, it's intriguing to think about how the city where I live now might be seen by a teenage girl living twenty-five years ago. By that time I was coming here as a wide-eyed teenager, thrilled at the glass and steel, second-hand record stores, and roti shops.

The most troubling aspect of the book was the handling of time. The narrative seemed to move in fits and starts, leaping over periods with little warning, then dwelling for what seemed inordinate periods on stories that did not seem to be resolved. Perhaps this is part of the post-modern turn in fiction that I'm simply missing. As an infrequent fiction reader, I found it distracting.

The German edition cover is way cool.

No comments: