In Love With Love

UslivingnextdoorI’m too tired to muster much of an entry, but what the hell, right? I want to talk about the book I just started.

You see, I’ve been in a bit of a fiction slump for the past month or so. Every time I picked up something new and started it, I did not fall madly in love. I was not swept away. I was not awed. I was not in love. Now, I certainly don’t expect to feel this way about every book I read, but I do expect it every once in awhile. And I expect a cousin of that feeling to occur a fair amount. I don’t read very many books I don’t like (see Jenny Davidson, see Colleen Mondor): mostly I put those down. I’m still not sure whether this slump was purely related to my own reader’s malaise (it happens) or to the books I was attempting (at least a few of them deserve another chance). I was getting my fiction fix mostly by rereading novels I already knew and loved well.

Anyway, this lack of dazzling fiction has been somewhat eclipsed by all the excellent nonfiction reading I’ve been up to (see 75 sidebar, down and to the right) and by some excellent stories in the Fountain Award jury reading. But. I was still beginning to worry. Fretting really, like some Mr. Rogers-type unable to find a clean sweater. Where is a book I LOVE? What if I’ve become one of THOSE people — you know, the ones who rarely LOVE a book anymore?

Last night, C and I went out to dinner and a couple of glasses of wine and bookshopping. He picked up the lovely Justina Robson‘s Living Next Door to the God of Love; I picked up Laura Whitcomb‘s A Certain Slant of Light (suddenly available, after a year of remembering to look for it at bookstores but never finding it). I think we also bought a couple of others off the remainder table, but that’s indelicate to speak of. (A real aside: The bookshop girl was charming and we got to talking about the Tiptree Award somehow — she ordered Air while we were chatting — and she recommended Wes Stace’s Misfortune for it and was amazed it was already on the short list for this year.) I took both the novels when we got home. I haven’t made it to the Whitcomb yet — though I’m sure I’ll love it, based on Justine’s reaction. I haven’t made it there because I started Living Next Door.

This book is completely exhilarating. (Someone Fed-Ex a copy to a certain D.I. stat.) I was in love with it by the end of the first paragraph:

There’s a kind of hush all over the world tonight: the sound of lovers in love. The rosy fug of it is so overpowering that I can’t hear the special kind of silence I’m listening for; the one that will tell me I’m about to die.


5 thoughts on “In Love With Love”

  1. hmm, interesting. I finished Robsen’s Silver Screen just a little while ago, and was very much un-blown-away. I had the same problem with it that I had with Gwyneth Jones’ Life: both featured very passive women. the main characters were women who were smart and interesting and had no drive to DO things unless they fell into them.
    so as smart as the writing was, i couldn’t help but be frustrated with them.

  2. It’s my favorite thing I’ve read by her so far. But, that said, I’ve only read Natural History and this definitely feels much different than that to me. I just love the denseness of it. The characters in this one are definitely active.

  3. I liked it, but didn’t love it. I definitely admired the writing and storytelling. But this one is much more my kind of story so far.

  4. I just found a good enough reason to like Robson. in her locus interview, she says:
    “I have a writing secret. I got a bargain-bucket tiara froma wedding shop,a nd now if I want to write I just put the tiara on and assume it commands power over All. Then I can do whatever I want! I’ve tried to give them out to other people, but they don’t seem to want them. works for me, though. (I have two. There’s a bigger, more ostentatious one for the more difficult writing.)”

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