creative [kree-ey-tiv]: adjective. Synonyms: clever, cool, innovative, inspired, prolific, stimulating.

criticism [krit-uh-siz-uhm]: noun. The act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.

11 Aug 2010

À Ciel Ouvert - Nelly Arcan

In this 270-page-long novel, Nelly Arcan explored themes ranging from the obsession with beauty to the obsession with love, while touching on mental, physical, sexual and emotional health issues.
Because let's face it, all of the main characters have issues. First you have Rose, a stylist who is addicted to plastic surgery (or so I saw it), and is obsessively in love with her boyfriend-then-ex, Charles, with whom she incidentally works with. She's also pretty misogynistic and has some issues about women being her competition in love, which stems from her childhood.
Then you have Julie, a documentary writer who has to deal with her own alcoholism and her drug issues, as well as her zombie-like state of existence following her last breakup, years ago, which only gets broken once she "steals" Charles from Rose. She's also very driven when it comes to maintaining her appearance, with frequent harmful effects (burning in the sunlight, badly injuring her shoulder while working out, scarring, that kind of thing).
And then you have Charles, the photographer with the traumatic childhood, the sexuality issues, and the mental health issues which pop up later in the novel and swell from there on.
The content was depressing, but this novel was also very well presented; Arcan's prose is fluid, and while some of her sentences might seem a little run-on and superfluous, they do manage to successfully dictate the pace and ambiance of the story. An okay read.

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