Dot in the Universe

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006
by Lucy Ellmann #12
Oh, Dot. I think Dot in the Universe is one of those love it or hate it novels. I loved it, but I can easily see why it might not be someone's cup of tea. It is fleshy, earthy, shocking, funny, shocking (yes, really -- shocking again), and honest*. Things that might alarm: random CAPITALS (warning: this is VERY ADDICTIVE, and if you read this book you will find yourself DOING IT all the time), descriptive of many bodily functions (very), and the unvarnished, occasionally DARK and WRONG thoughts of the heroine (I find this to be a plus, myself), and SO ON.

Here's a little quote to give some idea of the FLAVOR of the novel:
There are LOOKS exchanged in the street, looks between strangers. Sometimes a BABY looks me right in the eye! And I wonder if any of these people could stomach what I really AM. Terrible, to grow and walk and talk and eat and sleep and shit and fuck and give birth and DIE only to be a shame and disappointment to all who know me. PERVERSE of me to hang on for dear life!

This book reminds me, in length and in its slightly unhinged but sympathetic narrator, of Meredith Brosnan's Mr. Dynamite. (I wrote about it last year here.) They have a similar jazzy stream-of-consciousness something beautiful right up against something horrible oh my god they really said THAT style. But it's also REALLY FUNNY!

As Dot's story progresses, we go from a shabby seaside town in England to the underworld (probably my favorite section) to the American midwest. A lot of things happen along the way, but it really is no good to try to say what they are. There are possums. I can say that much. Possums and porn stars. Possums, porn stars, and tea cozies (although I don't think they ever all occupy the same scene. Maybe I'm wrong though, it's been a little while since I finished it.)

* honest -- I realize I have been going on and on lately about things being "honest" which sounds really lame and like some bullshit hippie-therapy-speak when I separate it out , but I think it is just a CRAVING I have right now since our entire government and society are all just one big fat lie after another. It is nice to read what someone (even a fictional someone) REALLY THINKS, even if it is sort of awful, you know? If I learned one thing from Deadwood, it is that we all have dark thoughts from time to time. I like seeing that acknowledged (as it is in this novel), instead of the insistence that everything is happy fun time 24/7.
4 comments on "Dot in the Universe"
  1. I can't believe you used the word FLAVOR! My math instructor does that and it drives me crazy! I do not know what it is about that word that makes me go bananas, but it does. Happy sunshine day and right on peace to all people...

  2. Banana FLAVOR? Or do you prefer FLAVA?

  3. I enjoyed it very MUCH, so thank you for the recommendation! I have the the Doctors and Nurses one out from the library now, but I might wait a bit before I read it. I don't want to crowd Dot.


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