Saturday, August 27, 2005

"The Secret of Hurricanes"

See that grin on my face?  I've just finished a novel by Theresa Williams, The Secret of Hurricanes.

Sir Knavely, of course, is still trying to decide.

All right, I admit it.  He's a slow reader.

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I received Theresa Williams's The Secret of Hurricanes yesterday afternoon from Powells.com.  A friend of mine decided to give me an early birthday present.

I scarfed the entire novel in one sitting over coffee at the 50s Cafe in Santa Monica.

Poetic.  Lyrical.  Understated.  Evocative.  Moving.  Memorable.

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A Southern author, Williams is drawn to the eccentric in this coming-of-age novel.

Her main character, 45-year-old Pearl Starling (even her name contrasts exquisite beauty with butt-ugliness), is driven through her adolescent memories by two religious missionaries, a Greek chorus determined to discover the identity of the father of her child.

On the way, she discovers what she can tell her soon-to-be-born daughter about love.

It's going to take me more than one reading to understand Williams' narrator (a-mature-woman-still-trying-to-be-not-a-young-girl-any-more) both destroyed by her crush on an older man, yet perverted by her obsession with his authoritarian behavior.

This is a story of pain energized by the hope of recovery.  A journey across an emotional and geographical landscape scarred by the Vietnam War.  A narrative recounted through a poetic prism.

The book's most clear predecessor is Dorothy Allison's novel Bastard out of Carolina, another powerful story that links incest, sexual abuse, and corporal punishment.

I'm eager to read Williams's follow-up novel (no pressure, Theresa!).  In the meantime, this is one book I shall reread more than once.  There's a lot that I didn't get first time around.

4 comments:

sistercdr said...

Theresa's book is incredible. I've read it three times now and have found undiscovered little gems in each reading.

vxv789 said...

I, too, devoured Theresa's novel in one sitting the first time.  I couldn't put it down.  Then I read it more slowly, and savored the richness of the language.  Language, story, setting.  She's a talent, all right.  Spread the word - we need more from her!

Vicky
http://www.livejournal.com/users/vxv789/

theresarrt7 said...

Steven, thank you for your perceptive (and touching) review of THE SECRET OF HURRICANES.  I think those who love to write themselves end up writing the most interesting reviews.  And to be praised by other writers far surpasses praise from anyone else, so thank you.  I wish you'd even consider posting this (or something similar) to Amazon, so others can get the benefit of your insights.  You can post there using your real name or anon.  Regardless, thanks for this review in your journal.  I certainly enjoyed reading it.  See that grin on my face?

bethsfrontporch said...

Steven,
What a lovely, sensitive review.  I do hope you post on Amazon.  Thank you for writing it.  --Beth