Saturday, April 16, 2005
Twilight by Katherine Mosby
Katherine Mosby obviously loves the written word as a cat loves a ball of yarn. She plays with words, chases them, pounces on them and purrs them into soft, fluffy paragraphs that you want to warm your lap. I loved the way she treated her paragraphs with such intensity, but I was not happy with the point of view of the book. It was what I think is called "limited omniscient" and was therefore too passive to be fully gripping. Things kept happening at a remove, which, though it set a fog-shrouded mood, left the reader without enough emotional contact with Lavinia and Gaston. Lavinia explains the problem perfectly on page 210 when she says "Do you never wonder about me? Have you no curiosity at all? Are my parents still alive? Who was my best friend in elementary school? Have I ever stolen anything? What poems do I know by heart? Does it matter to you?"By writing in the tense that she does, and by using such a distant POV, Mosby makes us as distant and seemingly uncaring/selfish as Gaston. She holds the reader at arms length, and yet beckons to us with her characters desperate desire and soulful need for a love that is fulfilling. I loved Gaston, and found his intricate descriptions fascinating...The reader could see him, with his mole, his chin whiskers, smell his aftershave, and know his heart through his poignant letters to Lavinia. Having had the experience of dating men who were horrible kissers and then dating ones who were fabulous, I could empathize with Lavinia's decision to dump Shelby, with his gagging tongue and stultifying demeanor, and I could understand her passion for the brilliant, if flawed Gaston. The ending left us in the middle of nowhere, bereft, not knowing if Gaston makes it to Switzerland and survives WW2, or knowing if Celeste does,either. We do not know of anyones final fate, just that they all ended up somewhere else. We do not know if Lavinia told Celeste that she was sleeping with her husband, or if Celeste was actually a better person than portrayed to Lavinia by Gaston. This was rather cruel of Ms. Mosby, to leave the reader in the lurch like that, with such a hasty-seeming ending. But I would recommend the book to all who want a strong evocation of the pre-WWII-era Paris and a delcious love story with characters that fascinate, told with elegance.