Chasm: A Weekend Hardcover – 5 Aug 2004
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|Hardcover, 5 Aug 2004||
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"It seems hardly fair that Dorothea Tanning, in a long, passionately inventive career as a painter, should have acquired as well the other harmony of prose, and that her passionate inventions as a writer should be so lovingly, so wisely resolved." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
* An astonishing first novel by the famed surrealist painter, about beauty and its mysteries, about simplicity and truth.See all Product description
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Tanning's prose is as picturesque as we might imagine one known as a painter might write. Her words paint detailed specific images that for me tended to bog down the unfolding of the story. The history that began the tale showed a long line of females all named Destina, all with kind of supernatural earth mother senses, many of whom lived short or unhappy lives. Raoul Meridian has apparently inherited the estate of Windcote from one of said Destinas and built it into a spooky gothic mansion in the middle of nowhere. He is a bizarre figure, eccentric in dress and scientific interests, who enjoys hedonistic worldly pleasures at the expense of much actual human intimacy. Meridian enjoys inviting people to his estate for weekend parties where he prefers the attentions of his female guests. His former wife's orphaned granddaughter is another Destina who lives a bizarre existence in an upper floor of the mansion attended to by Nelly, a strange dimwitted refugee from some institutional care setting. Destina at age 7 enjoys a special relationship with a mountain lion who brings her trophies of various animal body parts that she keeps closely guarded. Albert & Nadine are two of the guests who swirl into the party. Albert Exodus befriends Destina while Nadine fascinates Meridian.
The novel takes a while to get going, bringing in party guests that apparently are there for some reason, although one is never quite sure why other than to create a sense of mystery that is never explained. As the novels builds to its raging violent climax, Tanning is at her best in these action sequences that gnaw and tear. However, at the end, I didn't really like any of the characters including Destina's great grandmother called the Baroness, nor did I particularly care about the outcome. There is a certain sense of gothic strangeness that Tanning creates, but as whole, "Chasm: A Weekend" left me suspended somewhere between boredom, confusion and wondering if there were a point. Taxi!