I have no bright or clever friends mnemonic

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i have no bright or clever friends mnemonic

mark monday’s 'mnemonic-devices' books on Goodreads (121 books)

the aristocratic Marit Deym inherits acres of forestland; she creates a wildlife preserve and smuggles in a small pack of wolves to live there. her one friend: urbane lesbian Lola, who is hungry like the wolf for innocent debutantes. her true love: lone wolf Gabriel, teacher of the blind children whose school borders her preserve. Gabriel sparks an all-encompassing passion in Marit, and then a deranged possessiveness, a wolfish hunger to make every part of him hers, and to destroy all rivals, living and dead.

I actually did not expect this strange and beautifully written story - winner of the National Book Award for Best First Novel in 1981 - to be a portrait of a descent into madness. I was reminded of the excellent Endless Loves equally stark portrait of extremes of emotion. Marit is a rich eccentric but I somehow understood her, perhaps didnt completely relate to her but she was in many ways sympathetic: awkward, independent, and often covering her shyness with a blunt dismissiveness. so, understanding Marit, it was shocking to realize that just a few pages earlier I was watching her address a town hall meeting in her stumbling way and then now here she was at a grave site, on her knees in violent hysterics, scrabbling in the ground and covering her face with graveyard dirt. Marit certainly doesnt do things by half-measures, including falling in love, including going crazy. and including protecting the animals in her keeping. poor Marit!

it looks like this very talented author only wrote three books. I wonder why that it is. her prose impresses, the narrative she constructs is hypnotic, and she has that uncommon ability to write lyrically but not in an obvious way. her dialogue is sharp and often realistic, except during one standout scene where the lovers confront one another in language that is weirdly, fascinatingly stilted, as if they were channeling all such lovers learning that love does not make things perfect. her skill with characterization is fantastic! Marit and Gabriel are incredibly insular, often unlikable people and Arensberg makes us know them fully, if not like them. but the best part of the book is stylish, wolfish Lola, a loyal and supportive best friend, a heartless heartbreaker, a cynical society girl, and the sole voice of reason in this increasingly dark and unbalanced story. its hard not to read this book as if seeing the players and their drama through Lolas unsentimental eyes, and its hard not to want to keep reading more about this delightful character.
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Published 25.11.2018

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