Wednesday, March 16, 2011

DOWN ALL THE DAYS by Christy Brown

ANGELA's ASHES does a better job of conveying the "Dublin Slum Childhood" sort of story, because it's more coherent, but Christy's book has moments of hallucinatory brilliance, and awesome empathy. The writing is wild, sometimes ridiculously indulgent (especially when Christy runs through a series of alliterative adjectives), but it stumbles into brilliance often enough to merit fighting through the rest.

Take this, for example: "Happiest were the children [...] their small bones sang in the earth forever."

Or this: "her eyes like hard coal diamonds swimming in sperm."

Or this: "the fleck of blood [...] burning like a geranium petal at sunset."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy the alliterative, alchemical, chimerical way Christy Brown writes the English language. Comparing this book to Angela's Ashes is understandable, since they both are set in Ireland, but one is a true memoir and the other is a novel steeped in the isolation of its author's unique childhood and pressed out upon the language like the gold leaf on the statue of the Virgin. This book should be compared to Joyce and Faulkner not McCourt, all due respect to the latter.