Winter Fights Back

Winter must have heard I was talking trash because I’ve developed a cold in the last few days. That’s okay with me because it gives me a chance to do some reading. I’ve read two interesting books that I don’t know quite what to make of yet.

The first book is The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia. The book follows several characters in 1990s Moscow as they search for missing people who might have turned into birds. There’s a secret, magic underground beneath Moscow where the old myths and archetypes live. Galina, whose sister is one of the missing, Yakov, a policeman investigating the disappearances, and Fyodor, an alcoholic street artist, make their way into this hidden area. I enjoyed reading it, but am not sure what to make of it all. It’s supposed to be a commentary of Russian society. Perhaps it’s the Dayquil that prevented me from getting to the depths of the story.

The second book is even weirder than the first. I tried describing Girl Factory to Mr. Bookdwarf last night. He definitely thought I had taken too much Dayquil. First I have to congratulate whoever designed the cover:

girlfactory.gif

It’s certainly eye-catching. Here is the back of the book description: “There’s a disturbing secret in the basement of a strip mall yogurt parlor. Jonathan, the mostly clueless clerk who works there, just wants 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.” It’s starts out with Jonathan visiting a dog pound to break out a super intelligent dog slated to be put down. He discovers the dog playing chess, specifically Boris Spassky’s losing game against Anatoly Karpov in 1973. Yeah. He breaks the dog out, doesn’t get caught, and eventually goes back to work at Mister Twisty, a yogurt purveyor. Turns out his boss Spinner has several women in jars preserved in special yogurt concoction. I’m going to leave the plot there. Lets just say, Jonathan spends the rest of the book trying to revive the women. I’ve got no words for this book. It’s enjoyable for sure, but trying to describe or explain it? I’m going to go back to coughing and blowing my nose for now.

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