Monday, August 29, 2011


I'm not sure I like stories with a psychological slant. It plays havoc with my mind. Each time I read, I sink into the world of the particular book. This is the mistake I keep making when picking out titles from the man's bookshelf. His books are not meant to be sunk into. If I do that, I just get a terrible hangover after.

Haven Kimmel's 'Iodine' is rather disturbing. It's an emotional rollercoaster. At the end of it, I feel a little depressed, at all-that-could-have-been for protagonist Trace Pennington who has become Ianthe Covington. The woman is unable to free the shackles of her past. Repressing it doesn't help and when jealousy and questions in her present state stirred the hidden layers, her sanity breaks. In the end, her marriage to her literature professor Dr Jacob Matthias, which seems horrifying at first, unravelling what little sanity she has. However, in the end, this marriage becomes her safe house.

Steeped in Freud and Jung's dream sequences, Trace/Ianthe's world is exasperating. Add the Greek references to it and you'll be completely confused. It gets heavy going at times. However, the writer's meticulous attention to details makes this a most interesting read. It's quite a different treatment from Haven Kimmel's almost hilarious 'A Girl Named Zippy'. Written memoir style, Zippy is blissfully innocent to the miserable-ness of it all.

'Iodine', it isn't meant for easy reading. It's meant to rustle the reader's emotions so that at all times, one reacts to or identifies with Trace/Ianthe and all her insecurities, fears and even the hallucinations. The reader spends the rest of the time trying to decipher the protagonist's muddled world, wondering if she's mad-smart, smart-smart, or the author's simply pulling a fast one over us with the heavy fleshing out of psychological theories. While I won't pan this book, I hesitate to have it put forth as 'brilliant'. I'll leave it as 'interesting' and 'headache-inducing'.

"No one ever noticed that she had a seizure disorder? Transient global amnesia, that she was completely disassociative, she probably hallucinated, lost autobiographical details. You?" Trace thought he was turning toward Jacob. "Have you noticed anything unusual about your wife?" // Jacob sighed. "She sleeps with her eyes open. She has terrible nightmares and can't remember the content. She sleepwalks, she talks, she wakes up in the night convinced I'm going to kill her. Runs from me, hides. Some part of her is convinced I killed my first wife, Rita, who divorced me, just because I don't know where she is."


Anonymous said...

wah, cheem stuff.
i hear myself in some of the insanity parts. :(

imp said...

tuti: parts of us are always insane. things that we think to ourselves when we know no one can hear. :)

Cool Insider said...

Wow, you do seem to diving in deeper and deeper in your reading habits. I guess its part of living life to the fullest and stretching your mental faculties? :)

Most of my preferred reads tend to be pragmatic and boring, revolving around business, pop psychology, behavioural economics, and marketing. I do much better with nonfiction stuff than fiction.

Dawn said...

It took me a while to get through the book. I didn't love it either.

imp said...

coolinsider: heh. I do have a fair bit of time to read something else aside from my usual political commentary stuff and fantasy. :)

dawn: it was a bit painful, i admit. yay! you've power back on. make sure that backup generator works!