Friday, December 06, 2013

Nothing But Blue, by Lisa Jahn-Clough

A girl finds herself walking down the street with no memory of her immediate circumstances.  Someone has died and she must get away!  Voices haunt her and danger seems to lurk everywhere.  So, she lays low and tries to survive on the street, with help from random strangers and an uncannily intuitive dog.  As time passes, her memories slowly come back to her.

I really like Jahn-Clough's spare writing style.  Her other two novels are both on my very short list of perfect books.  This one is also well-written, but the story didn't work for me.  There are a couple of explanations for this.  Maybe it is because it is too predictable (memory loss stories have a pretty standard dramatic arc).  Or maybe it is because the novel's length relies solely upon having a main character who turns down rescue repeatedly (a choice that always seems to me more designed to extend the story than to serve a literary purpose).  It is, in sum, a short story stretched out into a thin novel.  It could easily have been resolved in thirty pages and maybe should have been.

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