A super sci-fi, slipstreamy story about a bisected (at birth) girl finding her other half. I'm having a lot of fun planet-hopping through a galaxy made up of really quirky, yet deeply archetypical worlds—Animal, Puff, Milk, and Kitten are a couple of the planets that I have been hanging out on lately. (They obviously have really bad phone reception, so if I haven't returned your call, now you know why.)
At it’s core, this is a story about divorce and mental illness, and the way that splits between people can show up as splits in the self. The heroine of this story has a deep fissure in her psyche. But because Rosemary craves wholeness (like most human beings), we get to bear witness as she hungers, fights, and journeys to reconnect, embrace, and heal.
At birth, Rosemary was sliced almost exactly in two. But not quite. There were a few extra strands of hair and a birthmark on the left side, but the fingernails grew faster on the right. Rosemary’s parents hated one another with the viscousness of crocodiles, and refused to come to any agreement regarding their baby daughter’s custody. To keep the pair from ripping each other’s throats out, literally, the somewhat-corrupt, but very-skilled OBGYN relied on barbaric measures, bisecting the baby girl straight down the center. Each parent foolishly coveted the half that he/she was handed and never spoke again.
Rose went with Dad, Mary with Mom. The ache of absence was so intrinsically linked to aliveness, that neither half realized that their deep feeling of yearning was not necessarily part of the human condition. The edges of their selves, though expertly sliced, cauterized, and sewn, never gave up grasping for what was missing. As they grew, the half-girls only felt hunger. Hunger and spite and muddled perseverence—bubbling in the pits of their split-guts. They were allowed no communication thereafter, but were shuttled off into worlds so violently opposed to one another that there was no longer any semblance of relatedness left, except, of course, that their features almost-matched.
I just started this last night, so I'm only on page 28, but I'm already passionately in love with this book. This is Fagan’s first novel, and I guess before this she published some poetry, which totally makes sense, because the prose is filled with poetic devices like metaphor, music, made-up words, etc. The story is about a young girl stuck in the foster care system. The narrator, Anais, is tough, vulgar, and a little bit crazy. She is the kind of character that makes my heart beat faster.
I bought this book at a super rad bookstore called Munro’s on the main drag in Victoria, B.C. I was surprised that I'd never run into it before--being a constant bookstore browser--but I'm so excited to have found this fresh, new voice. Fagan has received a bunch of awesomely positive press for this first book and she has won a bunch of cool awards and junk. Yay for young writers making big splashes!
As I was watching the movie, I was thinking a lot about spirits and ghosts and seances and October—which is right around the corner—and how stoked I am to be going to New England this Halloween because it feels like a place where the veil between worlds is especially thin at that time of year.
Go look at (and buy!) Bloodmilk's lovely, esoteric, haunting jewelry. Each of her pieces is handcrafted with so much love that they almost vibrate.