Carole Maso's AVA. I discovered this book several years ago and its words & rhythms have become a part of who I am. They come to me while standing in a line, while on a long run...even while trying, yes, to get other work done. I never re-read books. Ever. Expcept for this one. Over and over. Always. More poetry than prose, AVA is a long list of sentences surrounded by much white space. Not a novel per se. But so much so at the same time. Never have a writer's words so fully bewitched me. I keep waiting for their spell to wear off, all these years later. Their power has not lessened and I'll even venture this: their beauty resonates even more with me now.
I hate jacket-cover explanations & back-flap justifications, but here's what the book is about, in a, well, jacket/back/flap blurb:
"From a hospital bed on this, her last day on earth, thirty-nine-year-old Ava Klein makes one final ecstatic voyage. People, places, offhand memories, and imaginary things drift in and out of her consciousness and weave their way through this beautiful, poetic novel. In this celebration of life, Carole Maso captures the poignancy of mortality, the extraordinary desire to live and the inevitability of death. Ava yearns and the reader yearns with her, struggling to hold on to all that slips away."
I've set the scene. You have your bearings. Now. For the good stuff. Some of the words that are dancing about in my head this week:
"Olives hang like earrings in late August."
"You spoke of Trieste. Of Constantinople. You pushed the curls from your face. We drank Five-Star Metaxa on the island of Crete and aspired to the state of music."
"We ran through Genet and wild sage."
"Up close you are like a statue."
"Could one imagine a language sufficiently transparent, sufficiently supple, intense, faithul so that there would be reparation and not only separation?"
"A dazzle of fish. My hand reaching for a distant, undiscovered planet. Through water. Where we never really felt far from the sea. He kept drawing ladders. We dressed as the morning star and birds."
I'm escaping for a long weekend to find my own dazzle of fish. I'll aspire to the state of music...and to the state of returning home early next week with promised writing for all. Cheers.