Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Lust - The Virgin Suicides


The story of the Lisbon girls' journey from stifled teenagers in a repressive home to an out and out quintuple suicide is unlike anything I've ever read.  Very muted.  Powerful.  The unknown narrator, who with his friends is fascinated and perplexed by his mysterious neighbors, gives enough information to satisfy, yet gracefully leaves the important questions unanswered.  There is no pretense to understand.  No solution to  discover.  No pretty little bow to tie up the perfect story package.  It is as complex as the subject matter demands.     

"We were amazed our parents permitted this, when lawn jobs usually justified calling the cops.  But now Mr. Bates didn't scream or try to get the truck's license plate, nor did Mrs. Bates, who had once wept when we set off firecrackers in her state-fair tulips - they said nothing, and our parents said nothing, so that we sensed how ancient they were, how accustomed to trauma, depressions, and wars.  We realized that the version of the world they rendered for us was not the world they really believed in, and that for all their care-taking and bitching about crabgrass they didn't give a damn about lawns." 

Set after the Detroit auto-balloon had begun to burst, The Virgin Suicides hints at the grit and struggle that's part of the Detroit landscape today.  A what once was, could have/should have been, just may be if you take the time to look situation.    The tragedy is a part of the fabric of the neighborhood.  It's part of what makes it what it is today.

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