They call us guards, warders, invigilators, room keepers, gallery assistants. We are watchmen, sentinels, but we don't polish guns, shoes or egos. We are custodians of a national treasure, a treasure beyond value stored behind eight Corinthian columns of a neoclassical facade, the dreams of the ancients stuccoed to our building. And our title should honor that.
I struggled with very mixed feelings about Asunder. On one hand, Aridjis's writing is compelling. She can turn a phrase, and the way she describes the strung together episodes of Marie's life draws out the mundane life she leads as well as a few surreal, bizarre occurrences that finally set up Marie's life for a change. On the other hand, Asunder is a very short book that took me so long to read because I ended up pausing numerous times to stare into the middle distance trying to piece together what seemed to be a collection of unrelated events into some sort of cohesively themed whole. I always felt like I was on the verge of understanding the larger scheme of what Aridjis was trying to say but never quite getting there. In the end, without a little more help understanding the nature of Marie's transformation, Asunder failed to make the jump from a compelling piece of artful writing to an engaging story, and I was left with the distinct impression that I was missing something, rather than the closure I was looking for in Asunder.
(Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for my honest review.)