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Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Before starting this book I thought, "No, Lily could not possibly do it again." She has written two terrific books in the last couple years, Parabola (Chiasmus) and Changing (Fairy Tale Press). Finally, Les Figues has just come out with The Evolutionary Revolution, a wild fabulist book where a number of remarkable things happen, among them females living in the sky and eating on the fertile moon at night. So far in my reading, it would seem she did it again.

Since I am not finished with the book, I would just like to share some of Lily's fine prose at this point. She writes in very short, half-page to two-page chapters that are often discontinuous. In one, entitled "Merman's Dream," these sentences appear:

"Emily is caught in a merman's dream..Once, she tried to sing, to comfort herself, but her voice came out as soft cashmere ... Then, out of nowhere, she hears him singing. His dream is a muted song and Emily uses her fingers to draw out the lyrics, which she must translate into Man, and when she has, she will be able to talk to the merman...Emily doesn't know about the merman's vengeful nature. She doesn't know that the merman isn't dreaming at all, that he's letting her think he's dreaming so she can waste the little breath she has left in interpretation. He has no problem killing little angels...He laughs broadly. Emily hears this. She thinks it's another clue to help in her escape."

This parable about interpretation, which I take to suggest that interpretation often has absolute limits beyond which is profound misunderstanding, is part of a larger narrative in the book about mermen and women with wings on their thighs and wax on the eyes. It's a remarkably inventive book, sentence after sentence right on. I am looking forward to the rest.

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