Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Smudged girls

When I clicked on the lamp, I saw she was still in her dress and her face looked blurry like someone had tried to erase it. And her mouth was like the mouth of a little kid when they eat too much jelly.

I really enjoyed Mathilda Savitch, by Victor Lodato. The prose was so fluid and fresh and honest; every few pages I felt caught off guard, like when you suddenly come across a beautiful poem. It's funny and poignant, and it felt like the perfect book at the perfect time, just when I was bogged down in a pile of books I really wasn't enjoying.

It's about Mathilda, 12 years old, about her sister having died under a train a year previously, about their parents, about living in the grip of terrorism, about being 12. It's all very tragic, really, but it captures very well how very hard it is to be 12.

I love the line above, about her sister's face looking like someone had tried to erase it. It reminds me of a phrase I read recently, about smudged girls, but for the life of me, and I've checked through all the books I've recently read, I can't place it. It might've been, must've been, Simenon. It was just the perfect word, smudge. The girls made up and undone, smudged by excitement or sex or tears, smudged by boys, physically or morally. Mathilda's sister also was smudged. So much in that sad little smudge of a word.

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