„Hope is really, Laura says, an assertion of the self against the universe. She does not sound exactly like the self-help gurus on TV and radio, but not altogether different either. Great effort creates hope, the key ingredient to miracles. We can be happy, if, and only if, we kill ourselves trying. Laura’s got it figured.“
Title: There Is Nothing Strange
Author: Susan Pepper Robbins
Number of Pages: 180
Obligatory Star Rating: 4/5
What a trainwreck of a book, and I mean this in the best of all possible senses. Everything is really fucked up and really enjoyable to read.
The book starts with a wedding: Laura is marrying Jeremy. Their best friend, Henry, is in love with Laura, too. And he makes it casually and confidently clear that he merely considers Jeremy to be her first husband, while he himself will be the final and right one. With a beginning like this, can it get any worse? It obviously can and the reader can spend the rest of this short book seeing all kinds of things unravel and go wrong – and, maybe, ultimately go right, but in all the wrong ways.
While there is a consistently gloomy and slightly threatening undertone, the book was an immense joy to read. I was driven on by curiosity and the question “what the fuck could happen now?” and could hardly put the book down. The above mentioned triad of Jeremy/Laura/Henry is not the only unhealthy and weird relationship and one can’t look away when secrets of the past get revealed in a tone between poetry and resignation.
Beside providing shock effects and feelings of uneasiness, the book delights with a wonderful writing style. Susan Pepper Robbins can do both beautiful nature descriptions and surprising and absurd similes.
All in all, I highly recommend this book!