Friday, October 10, 2008
Blood Roses by Francesca Lia Block
In Blood Roses Francesca Lia Block does what she does well—writes evocatively, using poetic language to create a lush mood. Blending fantasy with reality, most of the characters in these short, short stories are young girls who live on the west coast of the United States. The tone and occasional reappearance of characters, from earlier stories in the text, result in a tight focus of mood and moment. This works wonderfully in her novels but not quite so well in her short story collections. Because almost every story is told in the same voice, the stories barely stand out one from the other. Beautifully written, any one would stand out from another writer’s short stories but it is hard to find one from this collection that stands out from the others. Nevertheless, the images are so rich that it is hard to not recall them all as the protagonists from each story seek to find meaning. And Block, who is not afraid to address some of the more frightening aspects of adolescent reality, does so with a fairy tale elegance that cloaks the darkness in beautiful prose. In this, she is harkening back to the tradition of bedtime stories where children were taught to fear through stories. However, her stories are not meant to inspire fear but to offer healing of psychic and spiritual wounds. So, although this is not my favorite of Block’s many books, it is still superior to most young adult literature.