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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Through It Came Bright Colors by Trebor Healey 
10th-May-2006 07:08 pm
Picked this one up from Zooba, and that is definitely one of the cheapest sources for new copies of this book around, if you're interested.

Healey, Trebor. Through It Came Bright Colors. Binghamton: Southern Tier Editions, 2003.
Summary: Neill's up to his ears coping. He's coping with his sexual identity, he's coping with his younger brother Peter's disfiguring and tenacious cancer, and his is coping with a star-crossed love affair with Vince, a compelling but emotionally disturbed drug addict. In the end, Neill loses Vince, but he does not lose Peter.
Comments: Winner of ISO's 2004 Violet Quill Award. A decent novel (and certainly one of the best I've ever read from Haworth Press) but brimming over with excess belated adolescent fervor...which, though I suppose it is appropriate for the emotionally immature Neill, rubbed me ever so slightly the wrong way. Also rubbing me the wrong way was the devotion to Eastern spirituality coupled with the distaste for Catholicism. Seemed like a bohemian fascination with all things Asian and exotique than with genuine understanding of differences in theological doctrine. Basically, this novel argues that we are uplifted by suffering, that all experience (especially the painful stuff), when viewed correctly, can be transporting or enlightening. Yeah, whatever. Also noticed the irksome POV switches and repetition of a handful of unusual vocabulary, most notably "dive" (squalid place) and "lousy" (riddled with lice). Kinda odd. Still, at its heart, this is a compelling story about coping with the illness of loved ones. Vince is a typical abused as a child turned self-abusing young adult who is afraid of himself--so much of a cliche that I didn't quite buy Neill's not being able to recognize this. Healey has a lot of literary ambitions, but I think he somewhat overshot his mark here.
Notes: trade paperback, BCE
Rating: 6.5/10 - Reasonably entertaining, and some bonus half-baked attempts as profundity to boot.
11th-May-2006 01:13 am (UTC)
this novel argues that we are uplifted by suffering, that all experience, when viewed correctly, can be transporting or enlightening.

Okay, based on that, I’d rather not be uplifted.. In fact, I think I could go happily through life with no uplifting at all....

Although, there’s actually something disturbingly Catholic about that.. I’ve heard it said more than once that your suffering is a gift from God, and helps you better understand Jesus on the cross >_< Now they also said Jesus suffered so we wouldn’t have to, but I guess that gets conveniently lost in trying to rationalize human suffering ^^
11th-May-2006 01:38 am (UTC)
Well, yeah...both Catholicism and Buddhism assert that "life is suffering"...it's just how you go about getting over it all that's a bit different. :P
11th-May-2006 01:47 am (UTC)
I think it’s time to admit that life just sucks and we suffer and die, and there’s no great higher purpose behind it ^_^;
11th-May-2006 02:23 am (UTC)
*snickers* I thought you rated as "spiritual" on all those quizzes...?

There's never been a question, as far as I'm concerned.
11th-May-2006 03:17 pm (UTC) - Through It Came Bright Colors
I read this book and enjoyed it overall, although I recognize it as being very flawed. My rating would probably the same as yours (perhaps a half notch higher). I found Healey's writing to be, at times, very beautiful, poetic. But the book had an odd rhythm to it. I wasn't surprised to later discover that a number of the episodes in the book (e.g., coming out the the father, his first meeting with Vince) had been published as short stories and they were subsequently enveloped into what is, basically, an autobiographical account of the author's own youth.

Two things struck me, I felt that the most moving passages in the book had to do with the relationships in the family (particularly that between the brothers). I've known people like Vince - hopeless cases - so it was difficult to work myself into too much of a froth over the fate of their doomed relationship (Healey states so much in the book's opening line). His vulnerability was touching but I still think the family drama trumped the "love" story. Plus which, I absolutely loathe all that vision quest stuff that seems to appear in so many gay novels. Similar communing with nature stuff appears in CLAY'S WAY and DESERT SONS as well. Yuck. The other thing is the shifting POV was a bit troublesome. Specifically a flashback scene in the juvy home that is told entirely through the viewpoint of a female counselor who lusts after Vince. How does Neill, as the narrator, know this? Badly in need of a development editor in that instance.

Anyway...enough of this. Good luck with your surgery. I'll be thinking of you.
31st-May-2006 07:15 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
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