Another deviation from my standard format….
Self’s Blossom by David Russell
Publisher: Devine Destiny (Destinies?)
I can in no way in hell rate this novel. Sorry. I don’t even know if i can write a cohesive review for it!
First of all, it’s written by a guy, in a woman’s point of view. This technique is in no way new, untried, or even unusual. What makes this book stand out like a sore, rotten thumb is the way Russell take on the technique. Existentialist, Russel is not. Dude trying to write like a 19th century classical novelist, sort of. Russell makes Selene out to be this ancient-soul-in-a-young-body (figuratively) woman, who is on this self-righteous journey to discover herself, hence the title, Self’s Blossom. Instead, Russell takes us on a painfully verbose trudge through a incredibly boring, self-entitled, shallow woman’s mind. Literally. Way too often, an event in the book is preambled by one of Selene’s pages-long self-analysis. It’s even worse when Russell has his characters tackling some ‘liberating’ issue. Sex does not liberate a woman! Obsession with a man does not liberate a woman! Liberation for Selene would have been her ditching her whiny-ass friend, finding a job she enjoyed, and letting go of all her melodramatic bullshit from her past–not running away from her problems, mooning over the whiny friend’s statements, seducing strangers, and molesting ocean waves. This book riles up the pissed-off feminist in me.
The prose was on this side of unreadable. If I were reading an essay written for a college-level sophomore English class by some long-dead existentialist author expounding on the facts, or lack thereof, of life, I would be more accepting of this sort of writing in a modern novel. In this day and age, there just isn’t a place for such flowery, purple-prosed, extravagant droning verbiage. I enjoy intellectual fiction. As an English major, I have to read quite a bit of it. I can see where a novel like this–minus the ‘erotic’ portions, may have an extremely remote resemblance to the great novels of Sylvia Plath, D. H. Lawrence, distantly, Camus, Kate Chopin.
Self’s Blossom has this vaguely nihilist, Kafka-esque air about it. I think maybe if Russell hadn’t attempted to write an ‘erotic’ novel, had not made Selene so self-important and broadened her internalizations—
No. I was trying to find something positive to say. But no…I just can’t even fake it.
I’ll never tell anyone not to buy a book. I’m —-> <—– this close to saying that here. In short, Self’s Blossom is hard to read, very slow, not sexy, and honestly, vaguely offensive.