“It’s that sense of real life flowing in a fast-cutting cinematographic style that elevates this novel into a new genre.”
Fast moving. At first jumbled:
Yoga. Yoginis. If you know what I’m saying. New York. Center of the universe. Lower Manhattan. Tights. Yoga mats. Way more girls than guys. Rows of bodies swaying in unison. Bicycles and roller blades. Barefoot Amanda. . . .
After 70 pages of fast-moving stream-of-consciousness writing, the reader may hope for a complete, traditional paragraph. None appear, at least not purposely, as the fast-moving words coalesce into a moving dialogue of young love, loss, and life in a pocket of the city: the world of yoga practitioners and artists.
While it may take a while to join the flow of words, to bring oneself up to speed, the rewards are abundant. Mr. Minot’s skill in pulling the reader into the rushing river of narrative is as unusual as the structure. He plays with words like this: “Beyond words. Beyond information. Our era and ethos. Eros. Rose.”
“The harried rush. Flushed away. Left behind in the disappearing flux.”
“Jaya. Ga-nee-sha . . .
And some good old rock and roll. (Old.)
Jim Morrison’s mystic slurry mumble.
Crank up the class. Crank up the heat. (Tapas).
Generate some Shakti. Spiritual energy.
Van Morrison’s slurry mystic mumble.”
But beyond the wordplay and the deconstructed sentences lies a narrative, one of developing love in an alternate lifestyle amid full-on passion, personal loss, and survival.
The sense of time and place, of gritty, exciting lower Manhattan is everpresent along with the quest—a search for enlightenment and for the other—the sense of spiritual fulfillment, and the touch of a desired body bringing heat to the story.
“Her head lolled forward; really relaxed. Eyes gently shut. I can’t keep saying like an angel. Her head came up again as I went under her shoulder blades, then rolled to the side and I kissed her neck. She moved her head to lightly lock my face there with her hair and head. We were in business. breathing together. out of mind. Or deeper in.”
The narrative continues through relationships and the incidents of every day—and then a plane hits the World Trade Center.
Fiction shifts to reality.
Or have we been reading fiction?
It’s that sense of real life flowing in a fast-cutting cinematographic style that elevates this novel into a new genre.