Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book Review: The Descent of Alette

I've been mulling over these past months on this blog and I realized that there are more things I want to add to the blog in terms of what I write about. I was really into posting in January but quite frankly I ran out of ideas for posts. So I'm going to be expanding topics to other areas I'm passionate about.
But for now, a book review!

The Descent of Alette, by Alice Notley
I was introduced to this book in my literary arts class. My teacher assigned it as homework, but honestly I couldn't wait to read the next section at the end of each assigned chunk. The Descent of Alette is an epic, which means it's a long poetic piece of writing that focuses on a main hero. It is separated into books and sections rather than chapters. It has a very unique style where every "Few words" "Are marked with" "Quotations." Which is supposed to cause people to slow down and appreciate the words and sentence structure. It takes a bit of getting use to, but it really does make you pay attention more and it's a perfect book for it. It's a book that I recommend reading out loud because it really is beautiful. I read every page out loud to myself, which I found helped me accept the punctuation and begin to read it as sentences.

Content-wise, the book is feminist/transformation story about a woman who lives in a surreal underground world which is ruled by the Tyrant who doesn't let the citizens go above ground. The woman goes on a journey to discover herself and to defeat the Tyrant. I don't want to give anything away, so I'm going to stay vague. The best part about this book is that it is basically one huge metaphor, but at the same time really concrete. The metaphors are definitely metaphors, but you also have to take them as what actually happens in the story. The story has tons of twists and turns, I was often very surprised at what was happening (and I'm usually pretty good at guessing what happens next in books) and best of all, I had no idea how it was going to end.

I cannot recommend this book enough, it is one of my favorite books. I plan on buying myself a copy since I had to return the copy that my teacher gave out. At the time I read it I was having trouble writing and this book inspired me. It's one of those books that makes you think about it weeks after you've finished it. What I really liked about it was that it was fantastical-not-so-sweet-fairy-tale-ish. Reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland almost. It's very abstract, so if you're an abstract person you'll love this. If you're not abstract you'll still love it. It's one of those pieces of writings that goes beyond mere story and to art.

So that's what's been going on with me, sort of. I hope all of you are doing well and reading inspiring books. <3

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