Thursday, September 08, 2016

One rainy day

It's a rainy day in Montreal and I'm glad to be reading this. This book is L.A., and here's a bit of noir amid the chaos.
Özgür should get out of the rain. He doesn't even have an umbrella. Balascoe sure as hell isn't sharing his. Men a lot younger than him, soaked through like this, can get horrible things in their lungs and die on a respirator days later. But Oz loves rain. Almost as much as he loves this city.

Oz has lived and worked her streets for over twenty-seven years. And one thing stays true: he never gets sick of the way she rises up at dawn, the way she grows smokier come dusk, and the way during a big storm like this she falls down and her mascara runs.

"Do not apply gendered language to urban zones," Elaine warns whenever Oz acts like some sailor talking about his ship, letting slip a feminine reference to this place where they both live. He can't say she's wrong. After all, what kind of woman contains this scene?

Because if this was mascara it was red. A seep of blood still washed over the sidewalk. The Korean woman still agape at a sky streaking indifferently down upon her.
— from The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May, by Mark Z. Danielewski.

It's hard to say what it's about just yet. I believe the novel covers one rainy day, and I've been given to understand that it's about a girl who finds a kitten. But on page 267 at 12:33 that day, the family is planning on bringing home a dog.

In many ways it brings to mind Infinite Jest. The many characters playing out in separate chapters in different registers. I'm feeling parallels between Xanther and Hal, Astair and Avril. Xanther's considering whether a particular book can trigger a seizure, or reverse its effects. It feels like an addictive entertainment. If Wallace is footnotes, then Danielewski is all nested parentheticals.

It's a commitment, to carry this behemoth with me on my commute, but I have fallen deep into this book.


Stefanie said...

I've been wondering about this book. So you like it so far? It's pretty hefty. I look forward to your final assessment!

Isabella Kratynski said...

I loved it, Stefanie! But possibly more as an experience than as a story. I'll post about it in the next day or two.

Buried In Print said...

That's such a great sign, that you want to carry this on your commute. The times when I've made that choice with a chunkster always lodge in my memory. I've given this one a heave occasionally at the library, and was hesitating at even bringing it home from there, but your response makes me thinking about lugging it along!