TITLE: A Poison Apple
AUTHOR: Michel Laub
This was only a short book and acted as a series of short snippets of a life that has not been well lived. There are some pretty heavy meditations on life and loss and effectively detail how the narrator has struggled to get over the relationship with his first girlfriend, Valeria. This reflective novel shows how intense and passionate the emotions of young people can be and how those memories can take hold as we grow older.
Suicide is a common theme within the novel and the narrator seems borderline-obsessed with the suicide of Kurt Cobain in 1994. The young couple were both massive fans of Nirvana and like with the ending of his relationship, this seems to have stuck with him in his older age. The narrative jumps around quite a lot, which I guess is indicative of the way thoughts and memories work. He is constantly switching thoughts and presents memories slightly out of order, leaving the novel feeling a little disjointed. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, but I can appreciate how it could disturb the reading experience.
Despite its jumpy nature, a story did eventually build up over the course of the novel. Similar to other Latin American novels I’ve read (The Tunnel by Sabato, Son of Man by Roa Bastos as two examples) the novel is quite dark, melancholy and meditative. The novel is mainly set in Laub’s home town of Porto Alegre and I always enjoy reading novels that are set in unfamiliar places to me, but feel authentic.
On the whole I did enjoy the novel, despite its slightly disjointed narrative approach. It was a quick read and the small chapters were easily digestible and made the narrative flow, even if the story didn’t fit chapter-to-chapter.
P.S. My music choice for this post is “How You Feeling?” by Superfruit from their new album Future Friends – I absolutely love it!