Tuesday, May 19, 2009

X-traordinary X-Chromosomes, Part 2

Another woman whose writing I am absolutely in awe of is Arundhati Roy. She's phenomenal. Her novel, The God of Small Things, is quite possibly my all-time favorite book. If not, it's definitely in the top 3 or 5. Again, it isn't only the subject material that makes it great. I love that her prose is more like poetry than any other novel I've read. The story itself is of two young twins in Kerala, India in the 60's, but to limit this book to a plot description would not do it justice. The phrasing that Roy uses is vibrant and exotic. The book positively thrums in your hands when you hold it. Her words have a pulse. The pages bleed. Every time I pick it up I am rewarded. Open it to any page, any moment, any sentence. It's breathtaking.

Margaret Atwood is a contemporary author whose novels are right up there with the classics. Animal Farm. Brave New World. 1984. Distopias, right? The opposite of utopian paradise, where the chaotic is norm and existence has been turned onto its figurative head. Orwell and Huxley are literary icons when it comes to this style of writing. They make social commentary by creating caricatures of society and stretching the negatives so insanely out of proportion that the reader can’t help but notice. I think that Atwood should permanently be added to the list of distopian masters. (Ayn Rand, too, but I’m not as familiar with her work.) Her novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, is perhaps the work she is best known for. And rightly so – a religious coup occurs in government and nuclear war is waged across the globe, leaving behind a worldwide inability for women to conceive. A smattering of women are still fertile, and these “handmaids” become property of the government and are made responsible for repopulating the human race. Brilliant plotline. One of my favorites - and incidentally, another commonly banned book. (My favorite!)

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