A.L. Kennedy


A.L. Kennedy’s The Blue Book: Fucks Body & Mind

The Blue Book CoverThe Blue Book
by A.L. Kennedy
Little A  / New Harvest, March 2013
352 pages / $25  Buy from Amazon







In a New Yorker essay titled, “Everything Is Fiction,” Irish author Keith Ridgway persuasively argues that, well, everything is fiction:

I love getting lectures about the triviality of fiction, the triviality of making things up. As if that wasn’t what all of us do, all day long, all life long. Fiction gives us everything. It gives us our memories, our understanding, our insight, our lives. We use it to invent ourselves and others. We use it to feel change and sadness and hope and love and to tell each other about ourselves. And we all, it turns out, know how to do it.

Transparency is ironically pivotal to A.L. Kennedy’s latest novel, The Blue Book, a work riddled with deception. Its two main characters, Beth and Arthur, are scam artists guilty of conning people into believing they can contact the dead. As if to counterbalance the lies, codes, games, and fraud laced throughout the novel, Kennedy tells readers from the outset—in a direct address—that, here, this is a book, “your book.” She goes on to write, “It moves for you, this book, and it will always show you all it can.” The wild, wonderful sense follows that nothing is held back—not by the characters or by Kennedy. Kennedy is like a magician revealing the how of her tricks, but also insisting on the why and the nonetheless magic:

All fucking stories: what makes us nice, what makes us talk, what lets us recognize ourselves, touch others, be touched ourselves, trust loves—the fucking stories.

And they’re what works the magic: the hard-core, bone-deep, fingers in your pages and wearing your skin and fucking you magic—that magic. Inside and out.


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June 24th, 2013 / 11:00 am