Caitlín R. Kiernan – The Drowning Girl (6/52 books challenge)

One of the books I discovered while going around the shelves at my local library. Not sure what got to me, title, cover, description? Well, whatever that was, it worked, I borrowed, I read.

This is a story about a schizophrenic girl and it reads as if – I suppose – a real schizophrenic girl wrote it. That means – it’s hard. Or rather HARD. Hard to follow, hard to understand what’s going on, hard to find any plot even.

India Morgan Phelps has suicide in her family – both grandmother and mother killed themselves. She also suffers from mental illness and tries to write down in a form of kind of a diary what happened to her. She has to be careful not to fall into the same temptation that her mother and grandmother. So, she goes to therapy, tries to have relationship, tries to paint and tries to write this book.

The Drowning Girl  The book is written in first person narration, which is usually not reliable, but with this novel, it’s extremely unreliable. India Morgan Phelps – Imp for her friends – will tell you that she’s a liar, that her memory plays tricks on her, that she doesn’t remember when exactly she met Eva, was is July or November?; and at the end she’ll tell you she’s sure she met Eva twice for the first time. She goes back in time, she doesn’t follow events chronologically, she even says she’s not sure about any chronology. That’s why it’s really hard to follow and hard to review.

It’s not your typical novel with the 7-stage plot, instead it’s a piece of unique literature, that is for the patient ones who can stick with it and be rewarded at the morbid, dark tale that hides in India’s mind. It’s confusing, annoying, and it’s a feast for imagination. But it’s worth it at the end. It leaves you with a feeling that you’re not sure what you’ve read, but it was something extraordinary.

I’m not sure if I would recommend it. It took me like four weeks to finish. It’s unique, but it’s also hard to read. It’s not a book you’d read for entertainment. But it’s haunting and from perspective of time, it’s a one of a kind experience.


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