I'm reading an odd and charming feminist post-apocalypse novel, "Cry Wolf" by Aileen La Tourette. The world has ended (maybe) and climate changed. A village or maybe city-sized group of young people is headed by a lone oldster, Curie, from the time before the disaster. The book opens with a classroom scene, Curie thinking bitterly that the youngsters are half witted ignorant monkeys, all too obedient and peaceful, unable to share any of her memories or cultural experience, since she (or she and her former collaborators, or some other governing body I haven't yet figured out) decided to teach only conformity and non-aggression, & no "cultural baggage", nothing about the world before. She set it all up that way with her fellow activists, but she despises the results. Curie is a lonely, lying cult leader, not a Repository of Knowledge apocalypse survivor.
'The sea. A long letter. A love letter,' she said softly, thinking of the morgue-world all the while, with its sheets of dry-ice smoke rising from the naked blue forms. There were no clothes to spare for the dead. 'The sky, the sea's mirror -- or is it the other way round? Who can say? Or is the sea the sky's own unsigned letter? ... But they didn't notice the limitations. Nature's blunt and abbreviated needs were all they knew; and their own. 'Rain, with its blue shine,' she instructed them. 'Rain, with its blue tune,' she dared. Would such a metaphor mean anything to them?
There are M-others, and Potters (who are, I think, hermaphrodites) - a reference to the culturally important graveyard or Potter's Field.
And behind all these spinning thoughts and images, she had the dolorous notion that had begun the process of repression and masking: that the skip or space in their title, M-other, was precisely the space of a strangled sob, a catch in the throat.
So far, the best scene has been the Festival and its description of the religious groups. The religion is based on the Body. There are cults of every body part - Toenails, Hands, Feet, Brains, Hearts, Fallopians - all with their ritual garb and dances.
With them, running behind, came the Feet, the babies of the body. If the hands were its prodigies, the feet were its clowns, its holy fools, wriggly and silly and utterly serious. They were universal pets. They had poignancy, orphaned at the extremity of the body, far from the brain, often out in the cold. But they were cheerful and fertile, with their two sets of quintuplet toes, the plump, cherubic babies' hands.
Like I said, odd and charming.
I'm enjoying the setup and the weird structure of the book, which so far goes like this:
- classroom scene, with Curie's speech about Blue
- Global climate change
- the bitter, lonely inner thoughts of Curie
- Sexual tension of Curie (and everyone, but especially and her best pupil Sophie)
- The festival with the cult dancers and the orgy in the river. Don't miss the sexy hermaphrodite sex scenes. Here there be "fringe". Tentacles?
- Curie begins to tell a mythical version of the past to Sophie.
- Curie's mother was one of the women of Greenham Common
(Zond-7 explained to me about Greenham Common and told me that I would enjoy reading about it; it was a feminist or women's anti-war anti-nuclear-missile camp or commune that lasted for many years, and here is a link so I can go read about it later: Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp.)
- That sort of lesbian feminist novel Thing where it is all about The Personal and about a clearly real group of activist women Processing their Shit, so you are dying to know what the real story is, and you think of your own little incestuous groups & their complicated interpersonal dynamics so difficult to explain
- Curie explains about Scheherazade, and a new section of the book begins, which looks like it will be told from the points of view of the other 4 women of Curie's activist group who maybe survived the apocalypse and who helped her set up this utopian society
That's where I stopped.
I really like to write a reaction in mid-book.