Sunday, 30 October 2011


A friend recommended this (disturbing) book to me, it’s a very perverse take on adolescent innocence with elements of the grotesque. My work focusses a lot on identity and how it is shaped and formed, as well as observation of development/the body. It’s the story of four children and how they cope with losing their father and dealing with a depressed mother who eventually dies as well. The children decide to bury their mother in cement in the basement. Some of the ideas and imagery are quite repulsive - the oldest boy remembers playing a ’game’ in which he and his sister touch their younger sister as if two doctors examining an alien and despite growing up and knowing that the game is inappropriate - he wonders why they cant play it anymore. He obsesses over his older sister’s body and masturbates to her. The youngest girl becomes mute and isolated with her journal, the youngest boy regresses and becomes a baby (coddled by the oldest sister) as well as attempting gender swapping. I think the whole book is clouded in mystery, we know that they all have a rather incestuous relationship yet they don’t seem to hold any affection for each other. The oddest thing is they are so detached and numb in regards to their actions and thoughts that it normalises the situation and almost makes it seem like a natural progression. The description of the surrounding suburban landscape is also quite haunting, their environment becomes alienating and deadening, as if they are the only people left on earth. You get a sense of emptiness, that the characters are disconnected from life. In a way this mood and atmosphere is something I’m trying to capture photographically.

Reading it I was reminded of The Story of the Eye by Georges Batailles, they both hold pornographic, perverted and voyeuristic parallels.

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