Apr. 10th, 2013

aslant: (elle s'amuse)
11. Autobiography of Red: a Novel in Verse, Anne Carson

Carson, you tricksy writer you. This is a novel in verse, but not in the way you'd think -- it reads quite nicely as prose for the most part -- this is also not a complete retelling of the story of Geryon (Geryon the monster was slain by Herakles, who killed also Geryon's red cattle and his dog), despite what the early parts of the (short) book led me to believe. There are red herrings all over the place, for instance in a modernized-but-vaguely-so story about Geryon as a gay male photographer and his sad love (?) story with Herakles, what is up with the two prominent references from Emily Dickinson about "on my volcano grows the grass" and "never have I held a peach so late in the year"? Hello vaginas. Is this Geryon being Anne Carson, gay male as stand-in for lesbian female, Geryon inhabiting the feminine, or another red herring? Unknown. And is Carson the Stesichoros figure? Maybe I'm being too literal here but there are certain meanings that would seem to flicker frustratingly in and out of focus, depending on which interpretation might be true.

I do know that Geryon is one of my favorite new characters. Is he really red like a monster, or does he just see red? I imagine that his vision is red, he sees only in shades of red, which he forgets unless, uh, triggered. He has wings, which he hides under an overcoat, and can fly but does so rarely. He has a kind of strange interface with the world, he doesn't quite interpret things the way others do.

There is a kind of contained sadness and rage in his whole story which made the abrupt ending a little unsatisfying, no catharsis, though not horribly so since there is a sequel which just came out, Red Doc> (yes complete with carat). But I have to wait for Kirk to finish before I can read it.


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