Memento Mori

imgres.jpgMuriel Spark has been on my reading list since The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie but this is only the second novel of hers that I have read.

Memento Mori is a reminder that everyone dies eventually. Spark’s novel is about old people in homes and hospitals who are well-aged and prone to die, often unexpectedly. Following these geriatric lives and deaths are two people: One is regularly telephoning the old folks and reminding them that they will not escape death; the other is a man who is documenting the personal aging process experienced by these examples of geriatric decline. In the end the many forms of death that take the characters away are enumerated and ironically all the years of carefully constructed documentation are lost to a material equivalent of physical death.

Continue reading

Cut You Up In Little Pieces

images.jpgYou are probably aware that the murder capitol of the world is Cabot Cove. Ever since The Manchurian Candidate I have cast a jaundiced eye at Angela Landsbury and the pokey gendarmes of Maine. But that was just fun entertainment (meaning there wasn’t a lot of blood and gore) and Cabot Cove has easily been replaced by the unnamed town in Japan frequented by Goth chicks and body parts stapled to a tree.

While seeking to throw some variety into my reading, I came across a recent volume titled Goth: A Novel of Horror by Otsuichi. I’ve got a soft spot in my scary parts for Japanese horror and this one seemed ideal for a midnight snack. It all takes place in a small corner of Japan where severed hands are buried in the backyard like kimchi and an occasional ear or nipple stapled to the side of a telephone pole is not an unusual sight. But after a half-dozen of these bloody dismemberments and three or four instances of being buried alive on the side of the potting shed, one does wonder why there are no traditional murders in this town: shootings, knifings, nunchuckings, poisonings.

Continue reading

Children Do Die

Perry

Does she believe in evolution? That is a dog beside her or is it just a wolf in a dog outfit?

On her website, Idaho State Representative Christy Perry offers that she is ”a pro life mother and grandmother and emphasizes her honor and value of all human life, born and unborn.” She also claims she’s “an ardent supporter of defending each child’s right to life.” Interesting. Perry is also in the today’s news insisting that the state has no right to protect children from their parents who refuse them needed medical treatment in favor of faith healing.

“Children do die,” says Christy Perry.

Continue reading

Jim Krusoe

Jim KrusoeHaving read the three books of the St. Nils trilogy by Jim Krusoe, I notice that there is a fairly obvious theme that Krusoe has fun with: specifically death and how to overcome it.

First, here are the blurbs for these three novels:

Girl Factory

There’s a disturbing secret in the basement of a strip mall yogurt parlor. Jonathan, the mostly clueless clerk who works there, just want to fix things once and for all, but beginning with an encounter at an animal shelter that leaves three dead, things don’t work out quite the way Jonathan intends … or do they? Beneath its picaresque surface, Girl Factory raises unsettling questions about storytelling, the nature of freedom, and the ubiquitous objectification of women.

Continue reading