I’ve blogged about the Eight Cuts site before http://eightcuts.wordpress.com and it’s best described in the words of its creator, Dan Holloway, as ‘a space to bring writers to readers and readers to writers in the most exciting way possible’.
‘MUT @ TUS’ by Joan Barbara Simon is one of the nominees for the 2010 Eight Cuts Gallery literary prize. I’ve just finished reading it. And – Wow!
The title suggested that the book would explore mutability and mutuality. The cover impressed and the unusual layout grabbed the attention. The content lived up both to the promise of the title and to the book’s good looks.
In this novel, modern ‘lady of letters’, Gini Mendes, engages in an epic of self-exploration, with particular attention to her sexuality. Her twenty-first century epistles are emails – sent and received by her – and through them she comes (no pun intended – well, okay then, it was meant) to fully know and express her needs.
The correspondence begins when Gini emails Maurice, an artist, from whom she has bought a painting. She has never met him but she wants him to know how much she likes and appreciates the work. Something clicks (yes, more punning) between the pair and many more emails are exchanged. They embark on a virtual affair played out via their increasingly intimate and passionate exchanges.
Even after the affair ends, Gini continues to interact in a similar way with others that she encounters online.
Throughout, Gini speculates and theorises on life in general and on her own life in particular. She considers the nature of subjectivity versus objectivity. She looks at the effects of instinct, sensory perception and intuition on cognition and how all of these interact to give humans their sense of self. She also examines the confines and downsides of the concept of time.
Big themes, yes – BUT- the novel is no literary bore. It’s exuberant, raunchy, erotic, funny and wonderfully honest. Like the painting that sparks the whole thing off, the book is vivid and arresting – from the start to the stunning and joyful ending.
Approach with an open mind and be prepared to be entertained. This is that great thing – a life affirming book.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mut-tus-Joan-Barbara-Simon/dp/1906558868/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1285183607&sr=8-1 click link to go to amazon and buy the book