Nope- not just referencing duck biology on a whim; ducks and their inner workings are integral to this story! Labyrinthine reproductive parts, family secrets, climate change, and possible reverse evolution are wound together into a tight knot by C.J. Hauser, and it is up to you to untangle, smooth, and rearrange the beautiful mess within. If you are totally in the dark re: duck workings, please go and watch Isabella Rosellini’s Green Porno entry “Seduce Me”. Obviously NSFW, definitely educational AND fun!
Half-siblings Elsa and Nolan lost their father years ago. He was alive despite being lost; just disconnected from them and the world around him. Their father, disgraced scientist Ian Grey, is lost again; his body has been fished out of the gulf that swirls around the mucky island where he and a group of “Reversalists” have been challenging evolution.
Family of Origin picks apart the tapestry of family, adulthood, and purpose. The characters throughout, from the Grey family through the Reversalists, all find themselves in worlds that no longer value them. They had trajectory, then found themselves falling and failing.
It was easy to get someone to care about something beautiful. Impossible to make them protect the muck it relied on.
C. J. Hauser wrote a phenomenal essay for The Paris Review in July of last year, and it took the internet by storm. “The Crane Wife” follows the author while she puts herself together observing whooping cranes following calling off her wedding. It is beautiful, terrible, and altogether crushing. I, like many others, sent it along to everyone I knew. She went out to observe the research of cranes in order to research this book, and her dedication is evident and careful. She has respect for both her animal and human characters. Her humans are flawed, messy, and capable of inflicting and receiving great harm, but she does not give up on them, nor try to change them.
This is the third book I have picked up in the last three months to feature people, in our current time, attempting to go to Mars. Or, at least, applying to be part of a team to go to Mars. Thinking hard about going to Mars, telling friends and loved ones they are going to Mars, preparing for interviews in which they win over teams in power with “why I want to go to Mars” statements. Why do these keep finding me? Mars is the “magic bullet” in our climate change nightmare…but what about all of the things left behind?