Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ariel Gore

So just a couple of weeks ago, I picked up an ARC (advanced readers copy) of a book titled, beautifully, The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show. Look, even booksellers are swayed by book covers. Maybe more so than average Joe Q. Public because we have so many damn books to read or at least know something about in order to discuss intelligently with customers. So I picked up this book because of several factors.

A) The cover is awesome.
B) The title was intriguing
C) It was slim and I needed something smallish to get back into a fiction groove since I've been reading so little of it lately.

Anywho. I picked up this book and started reading it the next morning. I finished it after work that night. I could not put it down. Compelling characters, structured stream of consciousness writing and an interesting but simple plot. Perfect! A note of redemption and hope found. Some dashes of tragedy and hardness. It's a dark tunnel with a bright light at the end. Maybe a few lanterns along the way. And you just keep going forward because you know eventually that light will reveal itself as something beautiful and open or a train. Either way, the darkness is over and you are satisfied. Incredibly satisfied.

So then I decided I needed to pick up Atlas of the Human Heart, Ariel Gore's memoir. As soon as I saw the cover I remembered seeing it on shelves and wanting to buy it, but not - for whatever reason at the time I have since forgotten.

Dear reader, do you know how hard it is to find a writer whose fiction and non-fiction nearly reads the same? I mean this as a compliment to the writer's voice. As an example, I love Anne Lamott's non-fiction but I think her fiction is terrible. Seriously. Ariel Gore has this voice that is so tough and introverted and exploratory and un-self-conscious all at the same time. I love it. I love the rambles and rants as much as I love her descriptions of the places she visits and the people she meets. Atlas... reads like fiction in its journey forward but is so sincere and honest and revealing that it can only be real. How much of any biography is ever really real, though? With Atlas, it doesn't matter. You don't care.

Come Spring, when her novel comes out, explore for yourself and see if you can figure out which is more true to life than the other - novel or memoir?

And I hope they keep the cover for TTD&RS. Marvelous.

Click here to visit Ariel Gore's website

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