The Gilda Stories

The Girl slept restlessly, feeling the prickly straw as if it were teasing pinches from her mother.

I wish I liked this book more. It’s original vampire fantasy, mixed with history from a black woman’s point of view.

The Girl is turned in the fifties of the nineteenth century, and the reader follows her into the fifties of the twenty-first century, adding some science fiction with a dire outlook as well.

I just didn’t care. Some of the secondary characters bring excitement to the chapters, but never stay long enough. Maybe it’s the writing, which feels flat and colourless to me, maybe it’s the main character’s aloofness that prevents me from connecting. It’s only 252 pages yet it took me weeks to get through it. The historical point of view interested me more than all of Gilda’s stories.

It could definitely work as a (mini-)series, I think. I’d give it a second chance on a screen.

The Gilda Stories, Jewelle Gomez, Firebrand Books 1991

Slaughterhouse-5

All this happened, more or less.

Two people close to me told me they weren’t sure this was a book I was going to like. One of them said I shouldn’t count the ‘So it goes’. The text on the back warned me for potential philosophic babble.
This all accounted to me expecting an not-understandable mass of deliriously written paragraphs without a (satisfying) end. I braced myself.

For me – and I realize that I might be looking at this story in just one dimension – Slaughterhouse-5 wasn’t a mess. In fact, it was pretty coherent and I enjoyed several parts of it.

Protagonist Billy Pilgrim survives World War 2 and a plane crash, travels through time, is abducted by aliens and is -by a lot of people- seen as an idiot. The reader follows his travel and his thoughts and as Pilgrim isn’t much impressed with either, nor is the reader.

What I like most, or can appreciate about this book, is that you can take several things from it. Is it but a fantasy in the mind of the ‘I’ person? Is Vonnegut ‘I’ or Pilgrim? Is this nothing more but a War Is Bad message with a lot of pomp? Do you believe Billy Pilgrim or is he sorriest sod alive? Is this even a book? If the reader wants to, it can create different puzzles from the same pieces.

I recommend this novel. It isn’t too crazy, too plain, too fantastical or too boring. It’s a nice puzzle, for the reader to decide what to take away from it.

Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut, Dell 1991 (repr.)