Monday, August 01, 2005

I finally got around to reading Madeleine is Sleeping, by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum. Wow. Wow! What an amazing melding of dreams and waking, the sensual and the absurd (which are often one and the same.) Each short chapter--ranging from a single sentence to two pages long--is a perfect prose poem, filled with gorgeous, haunting language and imagery. Copyright issues be damned, I have to share this chapter, which contains both birds and fruit, and thus forever won my heart:


Papa grows impatient with the fruit that litters his orchard. The air assumes the rich rot of a winery; he complains that breathing alone will make him drunk. In the evening the children wander home, bloated and sticky, but still they cannot eat the pears as quickly as they fall. The local birds, too, are so fat with apple that they can barely reach their roosts as night, and when darkness falls, the orchard floor bubbles as the sated birds make listless, halfhearted efforts at flight.


Anonymous said...

BEST WISHES on your book deal and on your writing future! This evening (8/1/05) my Riverside Book Group is discussing "The Book of Dead Birds." I'm betting most of the readers liked it. said...

We had a great discussion!! Your book was very thought provoking, a lot to comment about. Susan Straight's mother is in our group, along with a group of scientists from UCR. Some readers found the complexity of the book at bit difficult, but everyone found it well worth reading. THANKS for writing it!

gayle said...

Thank you so much for reading and discussing my book! I love book groups--if I had known in advance, I would have been happy to attend your group tonight to answer any questions (I do this by phone for book clubs that are far away, but it's great fun to meet with local groups in person.) Please let me know if your group members would like me to come some time in the future (maybe after Self Storage comes out! It's set in Riverside, so that should spur some fun discussions in the group.) Thanks again for choosing my novel, and thanks for letting me know about it! I appreciate it tremendously.