Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Review - The Saskiad by Brian Hall

One of those books that you just want to tell everyone you see about

The Saskiad is an extraordinary tale of fantasy and reality melded by a young girl's awakening into adulthood. Saskia is a lonely outcast at her school. She lives on a commune and uses any free time that is not spent rearing the wild bunch of children that live there with her, idolising and reading about epic fictional adventurers. In fact, after I've read Homer and Melville I will have to reread the novel just so that I can understand the countless references made to such classic writers and their genius works. I won't deny that I felt very poorly read as compared to this girl of fourteen who had such illustrious novels under her belt. At any rate, Saskia's reality gets turned upside down as she befriends the new and very exotic girl at school, Jane, and suddenly experiences every young girl's have a best friend.

Brian hall writes for us a delicious exploration of their obsessive friendship, and how they relate with others around their wavering love. They laugh, cry and grow together, and it is with this growth that eventually their relationship takes new forms, and veers off in countless directions. I often had to remind myself that the novel was written by a male, as Hall's depictions of teenage girls and the intricacies of their relationships was often eerily accurate and familiar. I'm left wondering if he had any help with character development through either his wife or a sister or something.

The Saskiad is also a story about the relationships (or a lack there of) between children and their parents. Thomas, Saskia's father, is deplorable, as are his inappropriate relationships with the females in his life, and you may have to restrain yourself from throwing the book at the wall when faced with some of his antics throughout.

I have heard some other readers complain that the last quarter of the novel is not as eloquent or creatively written as the first three parts, that there is a shift, in that Saskia's fantasies are no longer intertwined in her realities. It would appear to me that this might be intentional as this would seem to showcase that she has matured into adulthood, lost her innocence and sees the world through newly jaded eyes; often a sad but true consequence of growing up.

This glorious story seems to go on forever, until it finally ends and you are left wondering what to do with yourself now that the eccentric and lovable Saskia is no longer there to watch over. Sadly, I was tortured with melancholy over the last lines of this great book.

4.5/5 Snakes

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you are making great headway
    Keep up the reading, don’t let that head sway
    Eyes on the page and coffee in hand
    You’ll be entering a new land.