Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Gasoline by Dame Darcy
Gasoline by Dame Darcy is one of those peculiar books that is not easily recommended. Either this is your type of thing or it is not. My daughter is a fan of Dame Darcy and I wanted to read this to see what it was that excited her so much. The truth is, I am not sure I get it. The stories collected here are very loosely connected. The writing style is not evocative, too much passive voice and telling rather than showing. The artwork is highly stylized which can be a good thing, if you like the visuals that are sprinkled throughout the text. The book takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where the few survivors are trying to find a new way of being, living in a world where gasoline is highly prized, where there are nihilists and zombies, where women can spontaneously reproduce and the goddess is on the ascendant. In many ways, the novel tries to be a cautionary tale about how we need to be more mindful of how we are using and abusing our precious natural resources. Mostly it comes off as a quirky piece of pedantic prose with an agenda that the author doesn’t even try to hide. When I talked to my daughter about it, I said that it was sort of a steam-goth dystopian look at a fantastic future. (I don’t even know if there is such a term as steam-goth but I was drawing on the idea of steam-punk.) I also told her that she can do better illustrations than Dame Darcy. Argue that I am being an overly proud mother if you will but I do believe my daughter could produce something better than this if her heart were so inclined. Still, Dame Darcy is producing literature that is different from most anything else out there, a sort of cutting edge visionary who is clearly in the right place at the right time. For anyone curious enough to read, let the first few pages suffice to judge whether one should continue. If you do not find yourself curious and compelled to read on after the first chapter, you won’t find much to motivate you in the pages that follow. The narrative is so loosely connected from beginning to end that it is hard to even say that there is a clear plot. Definitely one of those books that the reader will either love or hate or, like me, give it an A for effort, a B for being unique, and a D for execution. And if my daughter reads this, I’m serious . . . you have at least this much talent. I’m sure Dame Darcy would agree with me.