The Meat and Spirit Plan by Selah Saterstrom“Like an experimentally inclined Annie Proulx, Saterstrom tersely renders the effects of social violence on individual lives . . . the effect is shattering and transcendent.”—Modern Times Bookstore newsletter
In lyric, diamond-cut prose, Selah Saterstrom revisits the mythic, dead-end Southern town of Beau Repose. This time, the story follows a strung-out American teenager influenced by heavy metal, inspired by Ginger Rogers, hell-bent on self-destruction, and more intelligent than anyone around her realizes. She is forced into rehab and private school, and her life, at least on the surface, changes course, eventually leading to theology studies in Scotland. But as the feverish St. Vitus’s dance of her adolescence morphs into slow-motion inertia abroad, an illness brings her home again—to face the legacy of pain she left behind and to find a way to become the lead in a dance of her own creation.
An heir to William Faulkner and Toni Morrison, Saterstrom soars above the traditional boundaries of the American novel with “exquisite, cut-to-the-quick language” (Raleigh News & Observer) that makes her novels “impossible to put down.” Spare, raw, and transcendent, Saterstrom’s unflinching examination of modern-day Dixie and contemporary adolescence lights up the dark corners of the American experience.
Selah Saterstrom is the author of The Pink Institution, a debut novel praised across the country for “letting gusts of fresh, tart air blow into the old halls of Southern Gothic” (The Believer). A Mississippi native, she is currently on the faculty of the University of Denvers Creative Writing Program. Visit her website at www.selahsaterstrom.com.
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A Review of: The Meat and Spirit Plan by Selah Saterstrom
Why does it have to be entertaining? I ask. What we need, Ron says, is light. We need light in this world, not more darkness. On the whole, The Meat and Spirit Plan is well-written, utterly deceptive, and subtle.
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Not enough has been written about how punctuation creates a mood, a style. Or perhaps the lack of punctuation: eschewing certain marks can force the writer to sustain a mood. She might fail to use quotation marks when a character speaks and then decide she likes it that way. Absence is a useful constraint. We listen. Then back to the States for hallucinations or perhaps lucid dreaming. No semicolons.
Start by marking “The Meat and Spirit Plan” as Want to Read: The Meat and Spirit Plan by Selah Saterstrom is a brilliant, brutal book. Selah Saterstrom is the author of the novels Slab, The Meat and Spirit Plan, and The Pink Institution, all published by Coffee House Press.
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In lyric, diamond-cut prose, Selah Saterstrom revisits the mythic, dead-end Southern town of Beau Repose. This time, the story follows a strung-out American teenager influenced by heavy metal, inspired by Ginger Rogers, hell-bent on self-destruction, and more intelligent than anyone around her realizes. - Thank you!
The poetry here finds its own voice through the straightforward style that pours out of Saterstrom. Picking up where the Pink Institution left off, The Meat and Spirit Plan is set in the south where many of the same curses are still in full force. Our main character endures all the typical trials and tribulations of being a teenager, and then some. Being raised without a real mother or a father, the main character looks to her sister for direction on how to live her life and to men and women for solace and security. While moving away helps the narrator gain distance from her drug-addicted mother, the influence of her sister, her past and poor choices, she remains the same person with equal baggage as an adult, only with a sense of humor.
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