Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elizabeth Smart was in a longterm relationship with the poet George Barker, even having four children with him. During that time he was married. So her life did not go the way she really wanted it to, and her longing for him permeates this book. Published in 1945, it is one of the earlier examples of "poetic prose," and the mention on the back cover that it is like Anais Nin and Djuna Barnes makes me want to read both of them; in my reading experience it is closest to Jeannette Winterson, one of the authors I love and adore.

That said, I don't think this would be for everyone. It is FLOWERY and DRAMATIC and would almost feel like teenaged angst except the metaphors and allusions are very literary and almost over my head at times. I have a hard time picturing armpits like chalices, and in moments like this, she does lose me a bit.

But I was in a reading slump, and it was so different from what I was slogging through, that I enjoyed immersing into her emotions. This is considered a novel (or novella, as it is only 98 pages) because while her emotions are probably the same, the person who is the narrator in the book only has the one child.

I understand that a later book, which actually occupies the second half of this printing, The Assumption of Rogues and Rascals, tells a much less emotional tale of raising four children alone. I might read it after rereading this one.

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