Synopses & Reviews
Fiction. Translated from the German by Mark Kanak. AQUAMARINE is the result of two years' musings following the author's long and twisted journey (both in terms of pathways and encounters) to Mexico in 1993. After having been variously reworked, the volume was eventually published in German in 1998. Considered groundbreaking in form and style, the novel is composed of seven intertwining tales whose unsettling, exceptionally ambivalent female protagonists, "Aquamarine" and "Marine," crisscross diverse Mexican landscapes and cities of both external and internal geographies much like a madcap road movie plowing straight through historical episodes into present-day reality. Along the way we encounter the horrific tragedies of private and political worlds as the tales channel into a common stream of storytelling that is so immediate in its presentation it violently impacts the very language itself (and the immanent possibilities or impossibilities in the author's use of language). The reader is thus swept into a swirling dreamscape of words and images, a ramshackle narrative construct where every kind of reality that is, always was, and will continue to be exist simultaneously.
"If you've ever dropped acid in the desert with a cabal of mad poets, Pessl's wacky trip through Mexico may feel familiar. Broken into seven stories featuring Marine and Aquamarine, the book is chockablock with dreamy imagery 'kissing her fleetingly, beneath her leg-colored fur skirt, waiting to remember, to forget, and indeed, staring along with an endlessly fixed stare, staring at it through that lemon-colored glass' that leads nowhere. A noted poet, Pessl (and translator Kanak) can string together images for a few pages blood and gore take over one of the book's more coherent sections but there is no real entry point for readers, and after a few dozen pages very little reason to continue seeking them. In his preface, Kanak writes, 'All are revealed in a sort of dark, flaming thicket of imagery that is the heart of the text, a disconcerting puzzle, pieces of a whole spread out in confusion and madness.' In other words, readers may do well to take Marine's advice: 'We will no longer try to understand.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Aquamarine, fluid like water, is a compound of two elements: language and imagery. Aquamarine and Marine, crisscross diverse Mexican landscapes and cities, of both external and internal geographies, much like a road movie plowing straight through historical episodes into the present. The revolution of the river, the people, the places: they come and go, leave and return, are drawn from the ether about us and disappear again into nothingness, which is a something-ness - if the narrator chooses it to be.Aquamarine is a novel comprising seven tales that explore the unfolding of an idea, of sitting before a palette and taking some blue, yellow, and beiges, or leg-colored ideas and wrapping them around like a coiled garden hose with all its kinks, awkward convolutions, and ungainly twists, each loop having its own radius but belonging to the same - is the same - loop. Revolution in every sense.