Sunday, April 08, 2007

"Autobiography of Red," by Anne Carson

This book was recommened to me by the lovely Metamorphose over at Anything Fun is Wrong. I finished it a couple of weeks ago, but I've held off reviewing it because I'm not sure how I felt about it.

Autobiography of Red is loosely based on the myth "Geryoneis," but Carson has made it contemporary. In this disturbing novel in verse, Geryon has red skin and wings. His childhood is marred by the painful learning of even the most elementary things. He is sexually abused by his older brother. Geryon's refuge is behind a camera lens and creating his own autobiography. Then as a young man, Geryon comes to love Herakles, an older boy who briefly shares the affection and passion, only to leave at the height of Geryon's love.

Years later, their paths cross again in Buenos Aires, along with Herakles' new lover, Ancash. The trio venture through South America together, tension brewing until violence erupts between Ancash and Geryon.

Here is a sad yet beautiful story that leaves more questions than answers. If nothing else, the freestyle verse is amazing.

4 stars

P.S. If possible, familiarize yourself with the myth before reading. Or just read the reviews on Amazon.

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