Review of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir by Caitlín R. Kiernan

Kiernan starts this book with the following warning to her readers.  This is the book it is, which means it may not be the book, you expect it to be.

This is a cankerous, demanding book that left me very conflicted.  I’m still not completely sure of my opinion of it and as such, this might not be the review you were expecting it to be, but it is what it is.  Warning: There Be Spoilers Ahead.

The Drowning Girl proposes a simple, yet fascinating theory.  A haunting is reality’s version of an internet MEME.  The more haunting is captured and then spread to others, the greater the power of said haunting.  The narrator references the very strange story of the Aokigahara forest.  In the shadow of Mount Fugi, there is a forest that happens to be the world’s second most popular suicide location.  Spirituals believe that the energy of the ghosts of those that have taken their lives have permeated the woods causing strange paranormal activity.  This was a local legend for centuries that was captured in Seicho Matsumoto’s novel Kuroi Jukai where two lovers decide to end their lives in the black sea of trees.  Since the publication of this book in 1960, this national park has been the eastern mecca for suicides.

This is recounted by the narrator as a warning not to read her book.  Reading her story is to spread the MEME and to willingly be inflected with her ghost story.

India Morgan Phelps, known as Imp, is a bright, shy girl that happens to suffer from a slight case of schizophrenia that has been exaggerated by a terrifying, yet beautiful event that changed her life forever and ended Imp’s relationship with her Abalyn.  Imp attempts to figure out what happened to her and put her life back together by capturing the memories and locking them away in the form of the narrative which also forces the reader to view this story from the first person perspective of Imp and follow her in the journey to forcing herself to heal.

The unrealized narrator takes the reader on a slow journey through her thought process and memories.  Such a trip is rarely linear.  The story starts with Imp as a young girl viewing a painting in a museum.  The Drowning Girl is a painting that might have captured a ghost story from the last century that may or may not have been inspired by a woman named Eva Canning.  Imp feels a strange connection to this woman and feels almost threatened by the presence of the painting as though it is stirring uncomfortable feelings inside of her.

The crux of this event happened around Imp’s meeting of this strange woman Eva that reminds her of her favorite painting.  It happens that in the present Imp remembers meeting this woman twice and she instinctually knows that one of these stories might be false.  Depending upon the time of the memory, Imp might remember Eva as a mermaid or a werewolf.   This duality is unconsciously echoed throughout the book represented by the transgendered Abalyn, who argues that while her body might have started life as a male that she had always been female in the soul.  Eva might be remembered as having two identities, but only one of them has ever been real.

Imp has to face three different mysteries: which Eva was real, what happened to her, and can she have a life after being touched by strangeness.

I very much enjoy this book, but it was a slow and difficult read.  That’s not an insult.  I read the chapters slowly and enjoying thinking about the clues.  Kiernan’s style is normally very lyrical and clean.  This time around, it is much more personal and loose.  I couldn’t stop reading.

I recommend the book, but I still couldn’t rate it fully.  That’s not a bad thing.

7 thoughts on “Review of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir by Caitlín R. Kiernan

  1. Pingback: No Country For Young Men: Life Update « The Universes of Jason Andrew

  2. whenever you are proactive and observe the physician and
    additionally choose a few differentalternativeproceduresyou need tobe able
    of get off of this particular horror roller coaster ride when
    and also for all. in a single panic, research problems people had been
    given salt lactate and also experienced the dramatic greatly enhance of
    blood flow in order to the temporal lobes of the mind.
    Exercise can help relieve emotions of stress and additionally anxiety, therefore is
    sensible discover one exercise you could do minus the
    should allow your home.

  3. Tenrehte PICOwatt Smart connect – nowadays you can
    switch off options in your own house with the laptop
    or complete i – Phone! it does the job by simply making just
    what are basically Wi-Fi linked power outlets, and functions a
    personalized application. First off, whenever ever you go shopping through a website and you search to the browse report of the website once you arrive to the
    report to complete the billing and additionally transportation
    insight some of the connect-as part of will detect all
    these content fields and the connect-in will most likely
    shed across and provide you with the possibility in order to need the plug-into car-fill in
    your very own billing and delivery help and advice that will you setup when
    you opened your own cover – Pal site – however here is how
    the really protect a portion of the plug-as part of obtainable.

  4. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am encountering
    difficulties with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting the same RSS problems? Anybody who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  5. When you are proactive and also see a physician and additionally choose a few differentalternativeproceduresyou
    have to tobe capable of get away of this particular nightmare roller coaster ride once
    as well as for every one of the. The crate trained dog will constantly become safe and also welcome as part of his crate when you are from
    the home. any causes the misreading, the fact will that the unconscious attention has misinterpreted the
    condition and also right now has sent a beat or flee signal to the body.

  6. I read a lot of interesting posts here. Probably
    you spend a lot of time writing, i know how to save you a lot of time,
    there is an online tool that creates unique, SEO friendly articles
    in seconds, just search in google – laranitas free content source

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s