In the never-ending quest to find a really great novel, I tend to consume a lot. I don’t consume much junk–at least by my definition–anymore, because one day I finally stopped finishing everything I started. There’s not as much time left, and I guess I subconsciously knew that.
And every once in a while I find one that sucks me in and makes me stay up too late, read during the daytime (a strict ban in my life) and parks me on the couch when I should be doing something else like cleaning this rathole up before my mother shows up unannounced again. Or worse, my aunt.
Slick was that kind of novel. That one kept me reading through dinner, which is not technically allowed in my house. I try not to break the rules I make too often, because it sort of usurps my own authority, but with Daniel Price’s hilarity rising to yet another crescendo every time I turned a page, I pressed on in anticipation and fixed the behavior problems of the family later. Besides, at that rate of reading, we’re only talking about checking out for a day and a half. That was four years ago. (UPDATE 3/1/17– Slick went out of print and Daniel Price bought the rights back, published it for the Kindle and made some changes. Buy it, read it. I mean it. This is the best news all week.)
This week, joy of joys, I found Oxygen. The irony here was I had just finished reading Pushed, a non-fiction work subtitled “The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care.” Having birthed the last two babies at home myself, this was right up my alley. But it must be said that coming off the dim view of doctors to pick up a novel about a doctor, a doctor involved in a medical malpractice suit over the death of a young girl– an anesthesiologist no less, one of those doctors who in her spare time performs epidurals on laboring women in too much pain from Pit Drips to survive another second– it’s a testament to Ms. Cassella’s golden keyboards that she sucked me into the hospital again, willingly and enthusiastically.
Try reading the first page and see if her words of breathing don’t make you want more. There’s a wonderful story behind that, full of description that set my writers’ envy on full tilt, characters who have depth and breadth of fully human beings, and a gut wrenching ending that a writer with less courage would never have inflicted on her heroine.
In my opinion, few have deserved to reach that fairyland world of published fiction more in years.