Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

IN BRIEF

Fiction

June 25, 1995|SUSAN REYNOLDS

RAIN by Kirsty Gunn. (Atlantic Monthly Press: $15; 95 pp.) It's a good thing this novel is only 95 pages, because it would be near-impossible for the reader to survive the tension and sadness that bubble up through every word. This must be what it feels like to drown, reading this book, knowing that death is inevitable and pointless, though preventable. Janey is 12, her brother Jim is 5, and together with their drunken, socialite parents they spend their summers on a lake. Janey teaches Jim Little to swim, she make sure that he is fed and tucked in and cared for, she gives him all the stability and attention that their narcissistic parents do not. Each day they escape together on some new watery adventure, in which every detail, every shrub seems ominous: "As you came closer you saw how dark the water was, how complicated by shadows from the overhanging growth, how the jade insides of the water were flecked with gold . . . you could hear bubbles of air forming and breaking, the soaken air trying to breathe." It is a novel that resembles a slide show more than a movie, a grainy, dim memory in which the ending is contained in each image. Born in New Zealand, Gunn is a free-lance writer for Conde Naste and is working on her second novel. It will be fascinating, not only to read her again, but to see how this memory of childhood bubbles up in future work.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|