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Jane. by Riya Anne Polcastro
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Recently added byRebeccaGransden

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This novel is as good as volleying treacle; messy, sticky, and wickedly fun in places. Structurally we zip from viewpoint to viewpoint, the heightened interplay of richly layered and well troubled mostly female voices the subject. Behind the bravura amplification of life lived in various states of desperation and undress a solid well of sadness and survival forms a cracked backbone. Boy, these women have to dredge deep, their world filled with the routine exploitations and magnified expectations inherent in the casual acceptance of a surrounding patriarchal psyche. Feminist. Read that word and weep at how loaded and demanding it is. Has it come to this? Was it ever not this or that?

Covering a selection of interconnected characters the novel deals with the roughness of tough lives and roughhouses the reader with a helter skelter visit to lives deeply messed with by all the usual suspects, the viciousness of the humour amplifying the manias and strung out lows of severe mental instability. Here is the festering heart of the book, locked up in a rusty locket, a generational legacy of mental illness and the surrounding trauma that results from its looming presence, whether active or dreaded. As a study in the recklessness and hopelessness faced by those affected this account reproduces the absurdity and challenge of flip-flopping from crash to high, from absent to deranged, with unshrinking fearlessness. The comedy is almost ostentatious at times, as the vulgar is faced and treated as a refuge, the brashness of the characters worn as an emblem of the shielding necessary to make it through.

Jane is a novel filled with characters who face dirt. They self medicate, harm, examine, destruct, neglect, indulge, and when it’s all over the dust settles. But dust is still dirt. A fine experience, this novel is obtrusive in the best way. ( )
  RebeccaGransden | Dec 12, 2015 |
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