Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The Shape of Water, by Anne Spollen— review
While I'm waiting to interview Anne Spollen, I decided to post my review of her first book, THE SHAPE OF WATER. I thought her latest book, LIGHT BENEATH FERNS, came out on February 1, but I just got it delivered from Barnes and Noble! (shh!). I've already ripped it opne and probably won't be able to stop. This one appears to be a paranormal, *sigh*. Well, heres' my Shape OF WATER REVIEW.
I read this book because my critique mate, Dhonielle Clayton. told me it had changed her life. Knowing D's taste and her own magical gift of language, I was intrigued. After reading the first page, I was swept away by the beauty and lyricism of the language. The Shape of Water is rich with elemental metaphors that connect to the underlying themes of loss, grief and recovery.
Magda is cast adrift after her mother's death, floating dreamily in a neglected beachy community in the outreaches of Staten Island, NY she thinks of as the Drift. The Drift is the wild place she and her mother co- existed in a dreamy world of their, with little to connect her to The Standard, the controlled “safe” area of her community. The Standard is a place she feels she can never gain acceptance to, that her mother gave her no "tools" with which to enter there. The book is filled with metaphors of water that underscore Magda's sense of alienation and grief. In her numb state, she imagines a campy family of talking fish that gradually reveal the truth behind her parent's marriage. Eventually, Magda believes that she has discovered the “shape” of the water that holds her and that she can, at last, swim out. The shape of water is a metaphor for the shape of Magda's grief. While submerged, it seems boundless, but as she continues to paddle for shore, she can discern its shape, and her release from it. This is a hopeful book, a story of one girl's journey toward self awareness, healing and self-acceptance.
Hope some of you will read this book, so we can discuss!