Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I which I break another heart and am happy about it, chortle

From: Morgan

Hello. It’s 4:11am and I just finished reading Blue Place, after finishing Ammonite barely a week ago.

This... This is a lot like S&M. Because this hurts so goddamn much, I can barely comprehend it. Just this howling bleak ripping empty space. But I want more despite the pain. I enjoy it on a deep emotional level, on a primal one of need.

You are a cruel mistress, Nicola Griffith. I can’t sleep after that. I stayed up for love in the land of fjords, and now I’m staying awake for a slow, graceless, jaundiced death. And in the wake of it all, there isn’t even retribution. Necks are snapped, faces punched inside out, fires started. But it’s all so terse, colorless. Twigs atop a fire that could melt stone.

You are a masterful writer, someone who really understands life, love, and the way minds work. (Also wood. As a carpenter, that was pretty awesome). There’s never a moment where I stop, and can’t look, because I see the trainwreck coming. Never a time when I want to just drop the book and say "What gives? Why don’t you just make a logical choice instead of being such an asshole?" It all grows so slowly, in real time, with all the little seemingly pointless details that grow and blossom and thrive, both in intrigue and romance. No tropes, no shortcuts, no convenient details. It’s beautiful. And I love you for it. But right now I kind of hate you too. I have to drive for three straight hours today and I have an exam somewhere in there, maybe even a date. And all through it, there’s going to be this awful pit.

I hope you’re happy.

Ah. Sorry. But perhaps it will be some consolation to hear that there are two more Aud novels, in which her life improves. Gradually, it's true (detail by detail), but still...

I remember getting about a third of the way through The Blue Place (or, as it was called originally, Penny in My Mouth) and realising that Julia would have to die. I felt terrible. I ran through all sorts of scenarios in which she could survive but it just didn't work. It didn't feel true. So I stuck to my course, feeling like a monster. But the ending was inevitable; Julia is too perfect to live. Besides, I needed her to die in order to set Aud on her path.

So now I warn readers: do not finish The Blue Place in a public place. Read it privately. And know that Aud's story isn't over (there's Stay and Always). She does find the possibility of happiness. And of course she has those blazing moments of joy along the way.

And, actually, yes, I am happy. Not that you feel so gutted (again: sorry), but that I could take you on that rollercoaster ride, give you a taste of someone else's life. I think that's what fiction is for; for me, that's the point. I'm glad to be able to do it.

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8 comments:

  1. Funny how people see things differently. 'The Blue Place' felt bleak in places, but for me it was by no means hard to read emotionally. Admittedly, I cried at Julia's death, but there was no other literary option if you wanted the story to go forward in any meaningful way. I enjoyed every word of it and have re-read it a couple of times. Maybe I just have emotional callouses in different places than your reader who wrote above.

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    1. I think everyone reads a slightly different book. We're individuals; we have individual responses. But I'm delighted you enjoyed TBP!

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  2. I am giddy thinking about two more chances to read more about Aud! Of course, I'm sure it will be awhile, but I will console myself with Hild and perhaps revisit the first three. Thanks.

    jeanne

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    1. Ah, sorry to break your bubble but no, I'm not writing any new Aud right now. I meant: there are two more after The Blue Place. Sorry for the confusion.

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  3. It's a tricksy emotional journey through the three books. I remember when my younger son, then in his late teens, discovered my copies on the bookshelf and raced through them, then wanted to share with his friends (we bought extra copies because I no longer lend *my* copies).

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    1. Y'know, I've never talked to any teen boys who read Aud. I'd love to hear more, if/when you feel so inclined.

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  4. Well done, Morgan, you sure got way with words:)
    And for myself, I find Your, Ms Griffith, Aud series just about perfect mix of crime and psychology and custom.

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    1. Thank you. But I'm uncertain what you mean by 'custom'.

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