VERGE, Lidia Yuknavitch
First thing in the morning, when I take out the trash, I see it: syringe on the lawn. Still bloody. It spikes and chills my memory: four long years of youth sliding cold silver glint into waiting blue.
VERGE is a book of short stories by Lidia Yuknavitch, who wrote the fantastic BOOK OF JOAN, told in visceral, flensing language.
Bosch closes his eyes and focuses on this feeling, so he’ll remember it when it’s gone. For it will be gone, will it not? That is the way of things, that is time, and time is a fucker, and except for this one time in all his life he’d never cared about the boot-sludge drone of time, and suddenly it is everything, isn’t it?
These are, generally speaking, stories about sex, drugs and death in America. It tricks you. The first story has a glorious, life-affirming note to it. That note fades. Things get, frankly, more fucked up. You can almost think of it as a mosaic novel, connected by theme rather than character or setting: the dark facets of the world at its private fringes.
I used to wonder who would want to live here, like this, some dried-out town at the edge of the story line, the nightly news, never quite making it into the picture, its people crowding the geography somehow without evolution or design. There is a black-and-red sign over the door of the Texaco. It reads TEXAS, USA. No city. No need. That’s the whole deal, stuck up there on a piece of metal the size of a license plate. Like thought stopped for gas and died at the pump.
It took me a while to finish this book. Not all of the stories were successful for me, but the ones that really worked both outnumber those that didn’t land and were cold and silver and sharp enough to make me pause for a while afterwards. Not always an easy read, but a rewarding one, with wonderful language. I personally admired this line a lot:
…some people she passed looked at her with a kind of disaffected latte pity.
VERGE, Lidia Yuknavitch (link)