The atmosphere here in Bright and Dangerous Objects is heavy. It’s laden down with creeping grief, sudden disappointment and the growing dread of continuing to exist while things crash apart around you. Sensitive tattoo-artist boyfriends, fancy craft beer, and getaways in stone cottages cannot save you from yourself.
Solvig has inherited her mother’s furious brain. She has inherited her father’s tend towards self destruction. She has inherited a hunk of malachite that is supposed to keep her safe, not that she believes in those kinds of things.
Anouk used to work in a crystal shop in Camborne, near the Giant’s Quoit: a mysterious megalithic tomb. She took several boxes of stock home with her when the shop closed down, and she would jokingly administer “stones for yer bones” when we met up. “This one will cure your cold,” she’d say, or, “This one will stop you and James arguing over the remote.” Anouk is not laughing now.
She is more comfortable in a pressurized tank at the bottom of the ocean floor than she is at home with her boyfriend, James. She is more comfortable planning a trip to Mars than she is planning for a baby. She cannot tell any of this to anyone other than the reader; we rapidly process her inabilities to process through this slim but sharp novel. We feel her try to be what those around her want her to be: a mother, a tough guy, a willing participant. We fall apart with her; we sprint along the seaside and hurl our guts into the ocean alongside her. Deep sea diving and chances to colonize Mars aren’t a part of our daily lives, but we can empathize with the pull of the universe alongside Solvig.
Now, I’ve learnt the secret to making decisions. It’s all about diving in. Am I hungry? I’ll eat a sandwich to find out. Am I tired yet? I’ll go to bed and see. Do I want a baby? I don’t know. Let’s have unprotected sex and see how it feels.