Friday, February 12, 2010

Rec Department

Indelible Acts by AL Kennedy is very intense, funny, tart, weird, and definitely sexy. The first couple stories are two of the weirdest (a man has an affair with a woman he meets in a cheese shop, and the sex is so brilliantly good that something cracks open in either his brain or the universe), so it wasn't until I was well into the book that I started to experience a weird sense of vertigo..."This woman!"

I think Kennedy has all kinds of points on me, quality-wise (I've never seen anyone write about sex so grimly and unsentimentally), and we have different interests in many ways (no one in this book appears to have a real job), but we both write stories firmly rooted in character, and sometimes, if what's true to the character is a lack of change or closure, then that's how it wraps up. So I was pretty wrapped up in this book from a technically point of view-- a "how is she going to deal with *that*" attitude--because while if I could just copy brilliant authors, I would, but most are doing such different things I can't use their techniques. Hers, maybe, I can--I do feel like I learned a lot from this read. But, like I said, she's amazing and I was able to enjoy this on a non-technical level and think you could, too!

Have you read the periodic table recently? Highly recommended--I think it's changed since I was in high school--so much more stuff now! I was looking at one that described what people *do* with each element (not the one linked; sorry, I can't find it on the web) and there are quite a few new elements marked "no use", which I think is funny, although we'll probably need'em someday, to fight the aliens or some new plague or something. My favourite is ununoctium, elemebet 118, which does nothing, but is the leader of the pack that starts at ununium and goes all the way up to 8. What *are* they, besides fascintating? Bonus: element 71, lutetium, is used for determining the age of meteorites. HOW DOES THIS WORK??

My short-story, "Do," was published last fall in the Antigonish Review, and is now available as part of the new podcast (#8) of Words to Go. It's a short, sweet, very interesting show, and I'm quite pleased to be a part of it.



August said...

If someone's never read any of Kennedy's books, would you recommend Indelible Acts as a good place to start? I'm a huge, huge fan of her column, but haven't really read anything else.

Rebecca Rosenblum said...

Hi August,

No idea--this was the first of hers I've read. It *is* a bit humid, sexual-intensity-wise, but I don't get the impression you are easily shocked. Likely I read it too fast--I don't think this would be a good book for a long train journey--more like for a dozen short commutes, one story at a time.

August said...

I think I'll take "humid" as a recommendation. You're right that I'm not easily shocked; in fact, I like it when writers take risks with their portrayals of sexuality. I'll keep my eye open for it, thanks.