I’ve just finished Hummingbird by James George, and before this Acts of Love by Susan Pearce.
Acts of Love had a tone generated by the way the characters are realized in the narrative. Pearce didn’t confuse the ideals of the characters with who they were. In one way this made the characters feel distant from me initially in the book, but it allowed a later freedom of movement for their own agendas to come to life, to visualize the attempts alongside the accidents that construct their journeys. Realizations came from a tension between intention and action, reflection and response.
Hummingbird’s quite different in tone, though, like Acts of Love, in which there was a uniqueness to the ‘dramatic’ (non-Gothic in feel somehow) progression of the story, it’s like walking into a cool room after having sat in the sun for too long – something alternative sinks in. George infused the dialog of his characters with humor and puns, however his descriptions and the inner lives of the characters were beautiful, rich and intense, shaped in the limits and evocations of his choice of language. For example, the image used to evoke the relationship of Jordan and Kataraina, a leaf with jagged edges, each a half of the leaf, unable to see each other from opposing edges, all of each other, but somehow bound into its whole by a spine.
I don’t know why I’m so interested in people occupied with design at the moment, but I’ve been a bit stuck with writing the last few days so I’m going to write a series of three poems along this line of interest; one loosely based on the coin designer of the first NZ decimal range of coins, My James Berry, the design of a suit featured on Stuff today which mimics the effects of old age and will give you a taste of what its like, and a mystery third…