[PDF/EPUB] The Color of Night author Madison Smartt Bell


Summary The Color of Night

The Color of Night

What she sees in those images is different from what the rest of us would see She revels in the pure anarchy thrills at the destruction These images recall memories of a childhood marked by unthinka In lieu of reviewing this book I think I ll simply repost this exchange about it la Siskel and Ebert that I ve lifted from a literary message board elsewhere on the Internet It s far thorough than anything I might attempt on my own COMMENTATOR 1 The Color of Night shares the name of a Bruce Willis movie which is telling since the book proved to be pulp dressed up in fancy pants language and heavy handed symbolism taken from Greek mythology Two of the characters are referred to as D and O and though anyone can easily guess without additional clues that D stands for Dionysus and O for Orpheus the author drives home the point with a sledgehammer at one point for instance having the Orpheus character being told not to look back as he lures away with song his lady love who s called Eerie not Eurydice I have nothing against pulp per se but this book pretends to be something It s trying to be literary and I suppose it succeeds but its embellishments in that way are at odds with its salacious subject matter which can almost be reduced to a high concept pitch as such things are called or anyway used to be called in Hollywood What if two of the Manson killers had eluded capture and were reunited after 911 Like dude that s blowing my mindCOMMENTATOR 2 I respectfully disagree about The Color of Night The writing is breathtakingly good the mythological elements well utilized no one does that any and the link between Manson and 911 not obvious at least not to me Also the D and O while fairly obvious to you and me is met with extreme bafflement by most of humanity as I know firsthand from teaching the book to a class of bewildered undergraduates earlier this semester COMMENTATOR 1 I m not sure what you mean when you say that the writing is breathtakingly good Is it grammatically sound well paced rich in metaphor and so on Sure okay I ll give it that but I wouldn t expect anything less from an author who s been writing as long as Madison Smartt Bell Good writing is a skill the natural result of practice and it drives me crazy as I know it does you when I read sloppy work by someone with enough practice to know better but once it s been established that the work isn t sloppy that it s well crafted something else is needed and that something means the difference between craft and here comes the dreaded word art It would have helped considerably in the instance of The Color of Night if the language had been a better match for the subject Poetic license and all that sure but if this book were music it could only be sung by the likes of Beverly Sills and yet it s set at the acme of what Casey Kasem used to call the Rock Era About the mythological aspect of the book I was reminded of Oliver Stone stating in an interview around the time his Doors movie was released that he associated Jim Morrison with Dionysus or some such I mean that comparison has only been made several million times and I don t think that s an exaggeration just as the sixties in general have been characterized as Dionysian several million times but this book seems to think that s an original thought Which reminded me of something else a review I once read of Jonathan Franzen s The Corrections in which the critic spoke of Franzen s plot device of The Old Chair That Mom Wants To Throw Out But Dad Won t Let Her a device that as the critic accurately remarked has been used in countless sitcoms only Franzen is such a snob one who s apparently never watched a sitcom or if he did he instantly banished it from his superior mind he doesn t realize what a cliche it is Also having someone tell O in this book not to look back or connecting D with wine was like Franzen announcing in The Corrections that St Jude is the patron saint of lost causes Maybe without such an announcement most of humanity would be baffled but is Franzen writing for most of humanity That s not what his style indicates Nor is that indicated with Bell s style here The style is ornate perhaps dictated by the daemons who write his stories for him as he tells us they do in the preface Apparently his daemons are into stories of the ripped from the headlines sort which is fine but it s a little ridiculous to me at least to cite supernatural inspiration when the sources are common knowledge and common is an understatement Any kid on YouTube could put together a Manson 911 mashup Of course to the best of my knowledge no kid has but it s far from impossible and were it to happen I doubt that any claim would be made for responsible daemons I thought the molestation part of the book was effective the most felt and there were details here and there I liked the way the protagonist referred to her mother for instance but the rest was unconvincing and I mean that in the poetic sense in addition to the book s inadeuacy as the potboiler it really is but can t admit to being COMMENTATOR 2 My attention span is so short my time so limited my reading life so daunting the stacks on my desk and nightstand and bookshelves so tall that my resistance to reading anything even something I like and enjoy for reasons artistic literary and fun is impossibly high It s hard for me to finish anything I get bored easily I m like a heroin addict who needs concentrated goodness to replicate the last high Every once in awhile I read a book that blows me away to the point that a I finish it b I ignore my family to do so c I think about it for weeks and longer afterward and d I want to read it again immediately My response might be part emotional part appreciative I don t know but The Color of Night passed the test It s not for all tastes most people I expect will not like it or may even hate it as you seem to from what I know of sales that seems to be the case But wow did it connect with me Is it because I was in New York on 911 That my knowledge of the Manson stuff isn t in depth so the inaccuracies don t stick in my teeth I can t say But I read it loved it read it again recently for class and had the same responseCOMMENTATOR 1 I ve asked myself if I hated The Color of Night but that would be too strong a word though I m sure I gave that impression There were definitely times when I hated it as I was reading but when I came to the end I had to concede that there was merit in the writing despite the many misgivings I ve mentioned and I m sure it s a book I ll continue to think about and possibly who knows something may turn in my head one day so that I ll see it in a different light Don t we all reappraise

Free read ✓ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook í Madison Smartt Bell

Ble abuse of her drift into a cult that committed the most shocking crime of the '60s of her life since then as a feral and wary outsider caught in a swirl of events at once personal political mythic There is no way to compare this one to other books of its ilk books told from the point of view of people whose masochistic and sadistic tendencies co mingle to a horrifying whole It s like watching a train wreck in slow motion Perhaps a bad analogy as the book opens with the main character watching the destruction of the Twin Towers and happening upon a clip of an old friend running from the site Her old friend s pose in the brief shot reminds our main character of their communal past I use communal literally As the story continues varying between past and present as our main character heads to the desert near the RV in which she suats we come to understand of her past She was subject to her psychopathic brother s whims and then fascinated by a manipulative cult leader who desires his followers to kill Our main character describes her violent actions in mythological terms speaking of a bacchanalia an orgy of blood The shortness of the novel and the brevity of the author s sentences make both the look of scenery and your knowledge of the workings of the characters extraordinary Stylistically the book is a dream but it rather chaotically describes a nightmare The book s plot needs cohesiveness fewer coyotes in the desert and strangely direct descriptions of violence I think I have become immune to the suggestion of it and I hate that about myselfWorth reading though if you have the stomach for the disturbing plot In the Eyes of Crazy (Kontras Menagerie that committed Tea Environments and Plantation Culture the most shocking crime of 50 Hikes in the Adirondack Mountains the '60s of her life since Survive by the Team then as a feral and wary outsider caught in a swirl of events at once personal political mythic There is no way Angels & Demons (Angels & Demons, to compare Washington! (Wagons West, this one Tennessee! (Wagons West, to other books of its ilk books Celebration! (Wagons West, told from Texas! (Wagons West, the point of view of people whose masochistic and sadistic I Know What You Bid Last Summer (Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery tendencies co mingle Revenge ni Miss Piggy to a horrifying whole It s like watching a Breakfast Book train wreck in slow motion Perhaps a bad analogy as The Librarian and the Spy (Librarian and the Spy Escapade the book opens with Day of Independence (Bad Men of the West, the main character watching A Bookmarked Death (Delhi Laine Mystery the destruction of Card Concepts the Twin Towers and happening upon a clip of an old friend running from Schadenfreude the site Her old friend s pose in Emotional Victory the brief shot reminds our main character of Still Life with Woodpecker their communal past I use communal literally As Bo Knows Bo the story continues varying between past and present as our main character heads Gender and Food to Radio Silence the desert near Finer Women the RV in which she suats we come Knitting Sweaters from the Top Down to understand of her past She was subject Dog Lady and the Cuban Swimmer: Two One-Act Plays to her psychopathic brother s whims and Crazy Horses Girlfriend then fascinated by a manipulative cult leader who desires his followers Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women's Anthology for a New Millennium to kill Our main character describes her violent actions in mythological Hannah Has Two Mommies terms speaking of a bacchanalia an orgy of blood The shortness of Child Support the novel and 777 the Lost Blood the brevity of Know My Name the author s sentences make both Abandoned Alice the look of scenery and your knowledge of Map My Heart the workings of Scandal the characters extraordinary Stylistically The Fashion Condition the book is a dream but it rather chaotically describes a nightmare The book s plot needs cohesiveness fewer coyotes in Embellish Me the desert and strangely direct descriptions of violence I The Snakehead think I have become immune Painting Beautiful Skin Tones with Color & Light to The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, the suggestion of it and I hate Truly Wilde that about myselfWorth reading VEGAN ganz anders though if you have Albert Reynolds the stomach for An Infamous Army (Alastair, the disturbing plot

Madison Smartt Bell í 0 review

Mae a blackjack dealer in a Las Vegas casino spends her free time wandering the desert with a rifle or sitting in her trailer obsessively watching replays of an old lover escaping the wreckage of 911 In case you were wondering the colour of night is DARK Just like this book Dark is a weak word for this novel though this novel that flashes between two of the most heinous times in recent history 911 and the drug fuelled antics of the Manson FamilyThis book admits the author in his short preface is vicious and appalling and thus some people will hate it Yup Some people will It s a powerful unrelenting nightmare of the vilest sort Madison Smartt Bell summoned the ghostly veil of mythology to help his story along in its depravity with cult leader D not only a stand in for Charlie Manson but also for Dionysus O for Orpheus the mythical singer who was massacred by Maenads followers of Dionysus while he sang The Color of Night follows Mae a blackjack dealer who lives in a trailer park and who enjoys walking through the desert in the wee hours after her work shift with the snakes and rabbits and coyotes sometimes carrying her gun sometimes not After seeing her former lover in 911 footage Mae is drawn back into remembering their time together in that dangerous cult and before that the disturbing relationship she had with her brotherSo yes it s vicious and appalling without a doubt There s violence incest murder rape I did say that mythology is woven throughout this modern day tale But it s also gorgeous the poetic prose an onyx monolith glittering in moonlight Its construction weaving past present dreams drug fugues this is something only a master writer can accomplish I admire its total commitment to this study of the underworld both mythic and all too real This unflinchingly noir fiendishly erotic bloodbathThe only author I have read who dares to dig such artful depths and who also explores mythology while doing so is David Vann particularly his Bright Air Black but also Goat Mountain Both of these authors have in their turn reminded me of why I read and write


10 thoughts on “The Color of Night

  1. says:

    In case you were wondering the colour of night is DARK Just like this book Dark is a weak word for this novel thou

  2. says:

    In Bell's early acks he states that his muses are daemons and that this story is proof He writes that this is the most vicious and appalling story ever to pass through my hand so inevitably some people will hate it I did not hate it despite

  3. says:

    Based on the other reviews here I kept plugging away at this book waiting for the story to get better but it bored me nearly to death I disliked the main character Mae so strongly that I wanted to read about her abuse but just kept feeling disappointed as every bad thing that happened to her was glossed over so we could get to the next scene of her walking in the desert doing nothing The parallel story about Mae's lost

  4. says:

    In lieu of reviewing this book I think I’ll simply repost this exchange about it à la Siskel and Ebert that I’ve lifted from a literary message board elsewhere on the Internet It’s far thorough than anything I might attempt on my own COMMENTATOR #1 The Color of Night shares the name of a Bruce Willis movie which is

  5. says:

    Latter Day BacchaeLas Vegas September 11 2001 Mae is a fifty something blackjack dealer in a minor Las Vegas cas

  6. says:

    The Color of Night is a beautiful haunting and disturbing story which I found fascinating I see it as a character study about a girl

  7. says:

    a dark dream no make that a surreal nightmare protagonist mae works in a vegas casino roams the desert at night with a shotgun and eats beef jerky for breakfast so of course I was all over this rife with graphic scenes of incest murder drug fueled orgies and rape the writing was nonetheless gorgeous poetic a study in noir I was espe

  8. says:

    There is no way to compare this one to other books of its ilk books told from the point of view of people whose masochistic and sadistic tendencies co mingle to a horrifying whole It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion Perhaps a bad analogy as the book opens with the main character watching the destruction of the Twin To

  9. says:

    Wondering around the desert at night with a rifle being possessed by pagan gods ritual sex murder ya’ know feel good summer time stuff I knew this book was up my alley The Color of Night is actually a sophisticated and literate Wh

  10. says:

    One of those inexcusable books poorly written and even poorly conceived and the author clearly feels he is being so IN YOUR FACE Deserves zero stars Three hours of my life I will never ever get back

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