Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Autobiography of Red

When I first began reading this book, I was slightly afraid that it was going to be a book where everything was strange simply in order to prove its right to be called "avant." Given the structure, translation of the past into modern, and the hints as homosexuality, this book had the option of giving into a stereotypical, avant novel. However, I thought it used subtle messaging and complex imagery to establish the nuances of its characters and a deep plotline. I really appreciated the fact that Carson approached difficult topics in confrontational, yet tactful manner.

Although it was alarming, I believe the scene between Geryon and his brother and the sexual abuse which happens, is pivotal in order to understand the rest of the novel and the development of Geryon himself. Without knowing all of his past, it would be impossible to put together a clear representation of who Geryon actually is. Also, I feel that society is more apt to veer away from a topic as controversial as child abuse, particularly since it was his brother who was abusing him.

Also, the unique structure of the book allowed for the meaning of red to come out within the book. Frustrated by his past and, I think, his repression of anger toward his brother and hidden homosexuality, Geryon is forced to literally see red at every turn. He reads about it, he looks it, and he talks about red throughout the entire novel. Without release, he is forced to live in a red world and conform to its standards. Also, I loved the usage of the one-liners at the beginning of each section because they set the mood for the words that were to come. My personal favorite was the line, "Under the seams runs the pain," because I believe it encompasses the entirety of the novel within its words. Geryon is a character to be pitied and has to suffer throughout the novel, with occasional bouts of happiness. However, all of this pain is "under the seams" and no one can access it or know about it except for Geryon.

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