Thursday, April 12, 2012

Monster Child of God

Autobiography of Red
Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read few books this strange yet also this successful in executing their idiosyncratic vision of what a book can be if it sheds the normal genre and stylistic trappings that big industry often demands. While it's billed as a "novel in verse," Carson's book does not deserve such a reductive categorization, especially since it isn't written in meter (it does use line breaks so you could call it free verse I suppose). It a bildungsroman novel crossed with ancient myth, part poetry that reads much like prose, an fictionalized autobiography within an academician's frame narrative (which in itself reads like critical theory, or at times a series of syllogisms, except at the very end when it turns into a magazine interview). On top of all that, it's really, really funny. I laughed out loud while reading multiple times. Of course, no one can tell you what Autobiography of Red really is, you just have to read it for yourself.

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