Review: Sarasota VII by Lo Galluccio
Monday, February 23, 2009
by Lo Galluccio
ÄŒervená Barva Press, 2008
Paperback, 64 pages
"Sarasota VII" is so intensely personal that reading it feels like an intrusion, like listening to someone's late-night conversation with their lover, like shoving your face right into the breast of a nursing woman, like clomping in Wellington boots through a delicate tracery of flowers.
It's as if Lo Galluccio has opened her private diary and printed its contents on the page: raw, unedited, begging to be prised open and understood. Death and sex intertwine like lovers, neither making sense of the other, but unable to part.
"She's taken from you. You've been vandalized by a rummaging god. She becomes a compacted star in your cosmos, the rings through which you become, like Saturn, denser than before--heavy with shame and longing--but furious enough in your suspension to fly."
Whatever new definitions the narrative tries to place on the sister's death, whatever consolations are offered--"Girls who become mistresses through whom you become a man, not the boy that death fueled"--the loss is always there, tangible, demanding to be understood, to be redefined, to be hidden then sought in allegory. Every possible means of understanding the death is attempted, rotated, abandoned, re-tried, holding the death at the centre of the narrative, allowing it to force its way into every thought, every action. Here our determination to ignore death is the ultimate taboo; here death will not be ignored.
In the second section, the narrator is dealing with a second death: her father's. Half of this narrative is, it seems, missing, and so it ends tantalisingly with much unsaid. Here, we have perhaps a gentler, more accepting view of death, yet it's still all-pervasive. "Because I'm fatherless I wound up in his shiny black rental car." Grief brings about strange outcomes; grief motivates everything, even though it's the great demotivator. Everything comes back to the black hole death has made in the narrator's life; everything is attributable; everything is coloured by it. Nothing can ever be the same.
This collection will appeal to those prepared to deal with an onslaught of emotions, to those who are prepared to take the time to let it soak into their understanding, to those who've been there. It's outstanding in its rawness, in its willingness to tell it like it is. Not for the faint of heart.
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