The Diving Pool – 2/5 stars
Of course the issue with any collection of fiction where the works weren’t intended to be placed side by side is that you are left holding the reins as to how they might possibly be connected. All three of these “novellas” (they are definitely just longish short stories) have a spare detached narrator focused mostly on observing than acting. All three have the same kind of spare language that other of her works are known for. And while “The Housekeeper and the Professor” was a wonderful heartfelt delight, like “Revenge” this book is a bit of a drag.
The first of the stories is “The Diving Pool” where a young woman is more and more obsessed with her foster brother who she watches from the sidelines at his diving practice.
The second is a woman watching her sister’s pregnancy approach with a sense of impeding doom.
And the last, well, it’s about a dorm and some weird stuff that happened in it but I was checked out throughout most of it.
And that’s it. I honestly didn’t form a particularly strong connection with this work at all and I bought it for a quarter from the library, so….like that’s twenty-five cents I’ll never see again. I’m kidding, but these aren’t the best of hers that I have read, and I wonder if the general delight of her most famous work is causing the translation and publishing of the other works of hers people can get ahold of rather than what feels necessary.
Visitation Street: 2/5 stars
This is a weird book. It’s ok. But it not only was never going to be better than ok, it’s made worst by several of the choices made in it.
Here’s some things I don’t like. Adults abusing boundaries with vulnerable teenagers. Cool, glad we agree. But then I really don’t like when those adults barely face any consequences for those actions and novels about them don’t really frame these abuses as all that bad. Sure, boundaries get blurred. Absolutely this happens, and sometimes those boundaries aren’t crossed and adults who find themselves in that weird space withdraw and protect themselves and the vulnerable teenager and luckily, wise choices prevail and while it’s still dark and fucked up, luckily severe damage was not done. And there’s times when those boundaries do get crossed and the people involved face the consequences of those actions and have to deal with the fall out. But this book has those boundaries get crossed and then the adult feel scared but not really for the right reasons and it’s an accidental moral mess, not a good and interesting one.
This book feels fake. Like inauthentic. And it’s trying on its big kid pants and testing the waters of serious issues, but it’s playing, not actually addressing and dealing with it. There’s a lot of talk with taking adventures in this novel, and I think that’s what it must think it’s doing. But it’s not. It’s screwing around. And also it’s oddly boring. It might make an ok tv show, but it’s not the wire caliber and it’s not loose enough to be something like the Shield. But it’ll maybe get made, and maybe a more responsibly writer will take the helm.