Archive for the ‘US Southwest’ Category
THE BUTTERFLIES OF GRAND CANYON names many of the beautiful invertebrates: Rheingolds, cloudless sulfurs, painted ladies, pygmy blues, green darners, and queens. Near the great natural gash in the earth’s crust, some of the human collectors of these delicate creatures find themselves passing through stages of development similar to those of the specimens they’ve netted. For example, twenty-five-year-old Jane Merkle, who has come with her older husband, Morris, to visit his sister, Dotty, and her husband, Oliver Hedquist, is arguably pent up in a chrysalis but may be on the verge of emerging and flying.
On her way to work, Lilli Chischilly finds two dead coyotes on the hood of her truck. She knows itâ€™s a message but hasnâ€™t figured out who, what or why. Lilli buried the coyotes, but thatâ€™s just the first piece of a mystery that grows in size and complexity every time she turns around. A murdered Navajo man found in the Badlands with coyote reproductive parts shoved down his throat; a series of photographs of a girl taken by her friend from long ago, Jerome Bah; political favors wanted from the presidential front runner; and another man who wants to kill the candidate to revenge a family wrong from the past. Somehow they all connect.
SOME THINGS THAT MEANT THE WORLD TO ME: What a wonderful book this is. As a clinical social worker and marriage and family therapist, I was very impressed with the clinically accurate portrayal of Rhonda, the protagonist. Rhonda is a 30-year-old man who suffers from depersonalization disorder which is one of the more severe symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is virtually always caused by extreme childhood abuse. When someone suffers from depersonalization, they can go into what is considered a fugue state or see themselves or parts of their body as “other.” As part of his disorder, and also as an homage to his resiliency, Rhonda has an inner child that accompanies him from time to time. He calls this child “Little Rhonda.” He also has an older Rhonda as a friend. She is nurturing and loving towards him and he calls her “Old Lady Rhonda.” Both of these Rhondas help him come to terms with his present life in relation to the trauma he’s suffered in the past.
In this collection of stories about lifeâ€™s uncertainties, Robert Boswell picks up his characters like mechanical toys and winds them up tight, and just when they are at maximum tension, he twists the key one more turn, guaranteeing that they will unwind noisily, out of control.