May. 28th, 2013

aslant: (elle s'amuse)
19. A Seahorse Year, Stacey D'Erasmo


This novel was a beauty. D'Erasmo is a clear writer who evokes interesting characters, tells a story with a great plot, and doesn't eschew poetry (but who also doesn't get cute with implausibly-inserted-imagery, as some lesser authors do). The story is about a San Francisco family (a lesbian couple and a gay bio dad, they are neighbors) whose son descends into schizophrenia, and how things fall apart, or maybe don't, or do, from there. It is not so much about "oh look at this unusual family" (ignore the jacket copy) and more about real humans facing real problems, mental illness, loss of passion, infidelity, etc. I found the character of the son, Christopher, especially evocative; you get several chapters from his perspective as he goes through rounds of different kinds of residential therapy, falls in love, goes over the mental cliff and comes back from it, barely. This is fiction done very, very well and I recommend it very highly.

(In my head, the film version would be directed by Sofia Coppola, lots of gray shots of SF and spare interiors, with maybe Holly Hunter in gray hair as Nan (a less buttoned-up version of her character from Top of the Lake), a self-effacing Stanley Tucci or Ed Begley Jr as Hal. Do you do this when you read? I am constantly casting and re-casting roles as I read.)

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