Monday, January 28, 2013

Response to Fluorescence

Fluorescence by Jennifer K. Dick is a work of art.  At first glance the paragraphs are fairly broken, and the words are difficult to comprehend, but as you get more into the writing style, and find the flow of the language the reader discovers that there is a story going on.  Out of the pages one gets a sense of what is happening.  It's one of a kind.  The first half of the book is one long poem called What Holds The Body.  I think this is one of the most brilliant used of metaphor I've come across.  The first three sections are written dream like, fragments of images flash through the mind, and one gets the sense that something terrible has happened to the author.  The writing swing between fragmented sentences, and three page pauses, like she is  having a hard time telling the story.  Through the fragments the reader gets glimpses of an explosion of some sort, and possibly the narrator see someone she knows die.  It seems as if the story is forced almost fictitious  Like she's talking about one thing while saying another.  In section three she lets out what it might be, then in the last section it all become clear. A friend has committed suicide.
After reading it for the first time you get caught up in the structure of the writing, the pauses, and spaces.  But on a second reading these pauses make it sound like someone is actually telling a story for the first time.  She picks each word with incredible care in order to give this kind of effect.  The story is about her office getting a suspicious package, and it turning out to be a bomb.  IT explodes and the images jump from scene to scene of what is happening during and after the explosion.  Yet, when you read it to the end, it becomes clear that this is not about a physical explosion, it's all a metaphor.   The package is someone bringing new that her friend has committed suicide, the explosion is the shattering effect that this kind of unexpected news has on a person.  Every detail about the explosion is a metaphor, and it's incredible to see it the way it is.  Like looking through a widow that was once covered in fog, her story unravels, and becomes sadly real.  Anyone that has lost someone unexpectedly knows these emotions, she gets them just right, it's hard to read now that I know what it's all about.
The rest of the book is quite similar.  Dick obviously spends hours trying to get every word right so her stories will be felt the way they should.  She is a master at provoking the mind to come up with the emotions she is writing about.  This book is colorful, sad, often hard to read but beautiful.  It is the kind of book you can read several times and gleam new feelings from the word.  She is not trying to tell a story in a  traditional sense, she is trying to convey how she feels about life, and the massive pressure it puts on everyone at times.

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