(Open Books 2011)
Review by Lily Wren
Phew, you certainly do have to put a little work in when reading Necropsy in E Minor. It seemed to take me forever to read and more often than not the words just washed over me. Often I wondered whether I had read the sentence correctly as I couldn't make head nor tale of it and so would re-read and re-read. I would start reading a section and feel confident knowing who, what and where only to find half way down a page we had been transported to a completely different universe which left me wondering who, what, where? I would find I would be just fine reading a couple of pages or so and then all of sudden it felt like I must have slept for a minute or so because then I would be reading and found I really had no idea what was going on, if it was going on, who was doing what and whether it actually mattered to the story. Confused? I was at times...
That said, this is a stream of consciousness and it is intentional by the author. In this respect it is a clever piece or work and it does give a sense of the fractured mind of the narrator. For that I give 3 stars alone and I appreciate that some people may find it an excellent book. I think the previous review sums up my thoughts exactly especially in relation to the stories being told here by the narrator. Yes, some are funny, some sentences are profound and some are not as successful and mere ramblings. Some sentences made me scratch my head 'huh?' whilst others just flowed so beautifully.... "Perhaps a blank sheet of paper has some memory of wood, but once you've placed the first dot or dash, the wood's stories are banished"... Writing a review on Necropsy is certainly a challenge and I have been unsure what to say. I want to say this is a brilliant piece of work, very well thought out and written but I also want to say I found it hard to read, confusing, too clever for it's own good and, oh, where was I? But then I come across sentences such as "The floor of the hospital felt like sand underneath a foot of water" and stop and think and be back to 'isn't it a great piece of work?' and then I ramble and stumble and wonder if I am asleep or awake. Oops there I go..now where was I? So I shall fall on both sides of the fence - legs over there and head over here. It is meant to be this way I think and is how the narrator would like it I think! It isn't often I finish a book and am still left wondering whether I liked it or not...I think I did though...eventually.... Anyway, Necropsy in E Minor is definitely NOT a holiday/beach/quick read/no need to think too much book and it most definitely IS a ouch my head hurts/where am I/where was I/who is this/who the heck am I kind of book. Confused yet?
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ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Lily Wren is a frustrated photographer, poet, artist and occasional blogger. When not climbing over hedges, crawling in the mud or chasing dragon flies around a field with a camera, Lily Wren works full-time for a charity in England and spends her days driving around the north west of the country in order to make ends meet. Lily Wren lives in Lancashire with 2 mad cats and a rather decent American chap.
Alan Ramón Clinton is a poet, novelist, and scholar of modernist poetry and writing pedagogy who lectures at Santa Clara University in San Jose, CA. Clinton is the author of the monograph, Mechanical Occult: Automatism, Modernism, and the Specter of Politics (Peter Lang), a volume of poems, Horatio Alger's Keys (BlazeVOX) and Curtain Call: A Metaphorical Memoir (Open Books). His novel, Necropsy in E Minor, published by Open Books in July 2011, wa