Monday, May 2, 2016

The Eerie, The Profane, The Darkness

9:33 on a Monday night.

Listening to The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and enjoying the sinister grooves as it provides a perfect backdrop for this particular book review. When I was last in My Second Home, I finally ventured to Blue Cypress Books in the Oak Street area to enjoy a lovely walk through. Ten minutes later, I discovered a simple book that had a haunting cover; there were no notes on the book that explained the plot - only a simple photo of a woman with a camera to her face. The book was Surreptitiously Yours by Kristin Fouquet and within seconds, I walked out with copy in hand towards the Rue de la Course coffee shop. Several hours later, I finished the book and wondered, quite honestly, what in the hell I had read. Was it a love story, or perhaps a murder mystery? Maybe even a homage to David Lynch (yes, I do love his films, but I can only watch them during the day - long story). Whatever it was I had read, I do remember this: it stayed with me for a very, very long time. I love writers like that. I love books like that. And yes, Fouquet had grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go. Honestly, I didn't want to let go of the book. I sent Fouquet a message after learning that we were both members of the New Orleans Photo Alliance and soon, we struck up a convo.

Surreptitiously Yours is a story that should be made into a grainy black and white film with subtitles even though everyone speaks English. Yet, the book holds so much imagery and a feeling of the surreal that I wouldn't want anything to spoil it. I just contradicted myself - I tend to do that when certain things affect me like this book did. The story is thus: Claudette, a film student at a university in New Orleans, has an odd habit of recording people with a camera that is taped inside of her bag. She wants to show the raw and the real to her professor, Sheldon Talbert, yet seems to be unsure as to what she wants to do with any of it. She meets a young man named Tristan Maxwell who immediately wants to put her in one of his films as a femme fatale, yet Claudette refuses. Suddenly, Claudette finds herself the victim of a strange game that exposes herself to anyone willing to watch. In Surreptitiously Yours, all of the characters have secrets and yet they show them off proudly like badges of Life. Just ask Valentina and Lenore, the women who live above Claudette and her grandmother, but don't expect them to be nice about it.

I like it when books will keep me guessing to the very end and this one surely did. Framed with carefully crafted words and thoughts, plus characters framed with caliginous souls and desires (yes, I just looked up the word caliginous because it rolls of the tongue well and it's better than just DARK)
Surreptitiously Yours is a book that I highly recommend. Read it in a candle lit room with a glass of wine or a cup of tea and simply experience this story. You won't be disappointed.

Kristin - next time I'm in town, we've got to meet up at Rue de la Course. Deal?


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