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Stop Making Sense

I read anything that's nailed down, or even just moving slowly. Cereal boxes, candy wrappers, all genres, etc., and I don't always have much time for arbitrary distinctions like literary fiction vs. genre fiction.

Mismarketing of a Decent Book

The Girl in the Road - Monica Byrne

This is the story--told in alternating, first-person chapters--of Meena and Mariama, who are heading toward each other but separated by about 20 years. Meena is fleeing west after an apparent assassination attempt back in her Indian home, whereas Mariama is heading east from Mauritania, after witnessing an attack on her mother. Linking their stories is the Trail, or Trans-Arabian Linear Generator, a series of flat voltaic cells (scales) that harness energy from the waves in the Arabian Sea.

The Trail is the one and only reason to shelve this book in the Science Fiction section. Otherwise, it's literary fiction. If you go into it expecting the latter type of ride, it's pretty good. The writing is lovely, for the most part. The sexuality is also generally handled well, except that rape is (yet again, and still, and my god, when are writers going to pick something else??) used as a plot device.

The book telegraphs its metaphors a bit too loudly in places (yes, we know what snakes represent), robbing the ending of some of its punch. And I have to say it: the ending is confusing. I read it several times, and I'm stumped about what certain characters were meant to represent.

In the end, I'm glad I read it. The parts where Meena is discarding excess baggage and getting down to her core were my favorite. I'd recommend this book to feminists, survival story fans, and anyone who enjoys good writing.