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From the author of Weetzie Bat comes a picture-perfect vision of mids Los Angeles, shimmering with Block's signature California-style magical realism and delicately overlaid with allusions to T. Eliot's The Waste Land. Marina's life is shattered by the death likely a suicide of her older brother, the surfing punk rocker Lex. With the help of her classmate and aspiring love interest West, Marina sets out to come to terms with the forces that led to her brother's death.
Through hints, whispers and delicate shudders, the glittering, fragmented narration—told mostly by Marina, but also by West and even by the deceased Lex—moves back and forth through time, gradually revealing the central incident that drives the novel's action: the evening the siblings strayed into physical intimacy in a sunken bathtub. One of Lex's early narratives offers a clue, as he describes a visit to a psychic after the incident: "Here it comes, I thought.
Those were pearls that were his eyes' " a reference to Eliot's clairvoyant, Madame Sosostris. Though undeniably attention-grabbing, this dramatic plot element seems almost forced, as if it were added on just in case the luscious prose and the authenticity of the teen scene were not enough to hold readers' attention. An 11th-hour twist underscores this feeling. Still, sophisticated teens are likely to be enthralled by Block's bold and poetic experiment; her skill with words never flags.
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Francesca Lia Block: Wasteland (2003)
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Lex and his sister, Marina, are inseparable. The air they share has always been light and boundless, but suddenly it's weighted down. And now Lex is gone. When the one relationship that cradled her turns out to shatter her sense of self, Marina needs her friend West to help put the pieces back together. But Marina won't feel truly complete until she faces the past that is haunting her. Highly acclaimed and award—winning author Francesca Lia Block tells the tale of a brother and sister whose loving relationship is too intense for them to bear. With the sensitivity and refinement that Block is known for, she manages to weave together her characters and their lives into this beautiful and thought—provoking tale.