Thursday, April 29, 2004

The Girl Who Liked Matches Too Much

I did not think I would do it: write a book review. But this book is so stunningly beautiful that I must.
La Petite Fille qui Aimait trop les Allumettes by GaƩtan Soucy.
The title is awkward. It is the only thing I do not like about it. The misery underlying the story is gruesome, but the book is not really about a miserable family with a miserable history.
The main character, the narrator, is groping for words to express herself. She has been isolated and her sources for language learning have been old books. That is why she speaks in antiquated phrases and strange slang, mixed together. Often she chooses the wrong word, and half of the time she ends her reasoning with: “If you see what I mean.” “If I express myself clearly.” “Well, more or less.”
The result is a fascinating struggle for being. Language has become a truly quintessential expression of self. A metaphor. In spite of the sadness of the story the book is lyrical in its tenderness. It is extremely painful. It is about the inside of suffering. Yet . . . .
Stop! The more I say, the less justice I do to the extreme beauty of this book. Read it and judge for yourselves!

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