Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thursday Quotables: Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente

Today I decided to jump in and join Bookshelf Fantasies with their weekly blog meme, Thursday Quotables! The purpose of Thursday Quotables is to share any line, passage, or quote from a book you are currently reading. I am always marking up lines and passages in books I'm reading, so I though that this might be a fun meme to participate in.

This week, I chose a quote from a book that I just finished: Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente. Valente is one of my all-time favorite authors, and this book did not disappoint me in any way. I a always hesitant going into Valente books because of how beautifully dense her prose is--it's really not something that I can just sit down and casually read; I have to really pay attention and make sure that I am engaged. Of course, it's usually easy for me to stay engaged in Valente's writing, but it can still be easy to get overwhelmed in her prose. It was hard for me to only choose a few quotes, but I tried to narrow it down to a few of the many great ones. Have you read any books by Catherynne M. Valente? If you haven't, here's a brief taste of her prose.

“Night poured itself down my throat. Night was my wine and my meat. Night wed me and bedded me, widowed me and murdered me and resurrected me whole a thousand times over with each hour.” 

"“It's a fairy tale. A children's story. Not a funny or silly one, but one with blood and death and horror, because that's fairy tales, too. A kid got swallowed by a whale. A little Pinocchio. A little Caliban. It's all there. And, you know, in a fairy tale, the maidens are never dead - not really. They're just sleeping.” 

“It was on the to-do list, but you know to-do lists. They get longer and longer until you might as well just carve the last items on your tombstone. Do the dishes.” 

"“Real life is all beginnings. Days, weeks, children, journeys, marriages, inventions. Even a murder is the beginning of a criminal. Perhaps even a spree. Everything is prologue. Every story has a stutter. It just keeps starting and starting until you decide to shut the camera off. Half the time you don’t even realise that what you’re choosing for breakfast is the beginning of a story that won’t pan out till you’re sixty and staring at the pastry that made you a widower. No, love, in real life you can get all the way to death and never have finished one single story. Or never even get one so much as half-begun.” " (Loc 963)

About the book:
"Radiance is a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood—and solar system—very different from our own, from the phenomenal talent behind the New York Times bestselling The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. 

Severin Unck’s father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father’s films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe. 

But her latest film, which investigates the disappearance of a diving colony on a watery Venus populated by island-sized alien creatures, will be her last. Though her crew limps home to earth and her story is preserved by the colony’s last survivor, Severin will never return. 

Aesthetically recalling A Trip to the Moon and House of Leaves, and told using techniques from reality TV, classic film, gossip magazines, and meta-fictional narrative, Radiance is a solar system-spanning story of love, exploration, family, loss, quantum physics, and silent film."
Buy the book: Amazon Book Depository

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