Hey there. Did you miss me? *shy grin*
It’s been really busy in Ibukun Taiwo HQ. Last month had a lot of deadlines and a few competitions to submit my work. The good news is I met all deadlines. The not-too-good news is that I think I’m recovering from creativity burnout (yes, it’s a thing!) so I’ve not been here too much.
What have I been doing in the meantime? Watching a lot of crappy TV. Oh, and wrestling. I recently rediscovered my love for “sports entertainment” so while the whole world was tuning in daily to see every country’s world cup ambition dashed (especially Brazil…Bad Germany! Bad!) I was either sitting through Monday Night Raw, Smackdown or just keeping busy on my PS3 playing WWE2K14.
I’m back to writing now though, so hopefully, I’ll have some good news for you very very soon.
July started with a bang! I ran smack dab into a book that’s been on my bookshelf for over a year – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – and bang! I fell in love. In fact, I think I may have read my favorite book for this year. Which is weird. The year’s best book usually lands on my reading list towards October/November (11/22/63 in 2012 and Steelheart in 2013). I guess stranger things have happened, like Brazil losing to Germany by such a huge margin.
Anyways, Gone Girl. By Gillian Flynn. It’s not normal for me to finish a book and immediately Google the author. But with Gone Girl, I did. I wanted to know who wrote such a riveting, character driven, batshit-crazy tale of marriage and love and falling out of love and… to say more would be to spoil this book. And trust me, you don’t want me to do that as this is a Whodunnit book, part of the fun is figuring out who did what and why.
Gone Girl is a crime novel about a married couple, Nick and Amy Dunne, who are having marital issues of the unusual variety. On the day of their 5th year anniversary, Amy goes missing. Naturally, the husband is the suspect, and the story is told from several perspectives. The husband, and the “wives”. Read it, you’ll understand that inside joke.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve had this book for a while now but I didn’t even get past the cover. It has one of the most bland covers ever. Don’t blame me, I’m an SFF person so I’m used to covers having 5 different colors and spaceships, and bearded wizards and long haired women on the cover. Instead the book cover is just black.
See? So Gone Girl stayed on the shelf. Which was my loss. I wish I’d read this book as soon as I got it.
Now, I was uncomfortable when I started because it was obviously not fantastical or sciencey. I didn’t get that buzz and sense of wonder I’m used to, which SFF gives. But after the third page, Gillian Flynn had me completely hooked. Her writing is that compelling.
There’s a particular place where I knew that this book was something special.
My eyes flipped open at exactly six a.m. This was no avian fluttering of the lashes,
no gentle blink toward consciousness. The awakening was mechanical. A spooky
ventriloquist-dummy click of the lids: The world is black and then,
showtime! 6-0-0 the clock said – in my face, first thing I saw. 6-0-0.
It felt different. I rarely woke at such a rounded time. I was a man of
jagged risings: 8:43, 11:51, 9:26. My life was alarmless. At that exact
moment, 6-0-0, the sun climbed over the skyline of oaks, revealing its full
summer angry-God self. Its reflection flared across the river toward our house,
a long, blaring finger aimed at me through our frail bedroom curtains.
Accusing: You have been seen. You will be seen.
I wallowed in bed, which was our New York bed in our new house, which we still
called the new house, even though we’d been back here for two years.
I like this kind of prose, dense like Dennis Lehane but flowing and clever. And so real. We moved to our current place two years ago this August, and we still call it the “new” house.
One key to writing good fiction is to write believable characters. Characters so real that you could swear the author knows you or peeked into your diary and stole some part of your life. By the time you’re halfway through Gone Girl, you’ll hate and love the two main characters, the titular Gone Girl – Amy – and her husband Nick Dunne who are having a War-of-the-Roses kind of marriage bump but with more sociopathy.
As utterly crazy as the plot gets, (which is fine with me since I’m used to having people teleport and throw fireballs and timetravel in my books) it never veers into ridiculousness. And contrary to what some critics believe, the twists didn’t break the story, rather they made it work.
The defining thing for me about Gone Girl is that when you’re done, you’ll probably want to discuss it with someone intelligent. So many questions, about the human condition, about women, about men, about marriage, about love. It’s all there, in thick layers.
I could go on about this book (but I won’t). But I recommend you read this book. It’s not Science Fiction or Fantasy, but it tells an engaging story and isn’t that the point of good fiction?
Bravo Gillian Flynn. Bra-vo!