Friday, May 11, 2012

Raw Blue (Kirsty Eagar)

Thanks to my friend Chachic of Chachic's Book Nook, I was introduced to the work of another fine Australian writer: Kirsty Eagar. Ms Eagar's prose turns poetic in Raw Blue, which centers on Carly, whose life now revolves only around work and surfing after a traumatic incident. She barely keeps in touch with her family. School is a distant affair. Friends are few and far between, especially as she strives to keep her walls about her. The last thing Carly seems to want is someone like Ryan, a fellow surfer: strong, intense, and mysterious. But they're slowly drawn together and Carly has to deal with her past to figure out if she can have a future with Ryan.

What I enjoyed most about Raw Blue is the gradual unfolding of the story. Carly and Ryan are both flawed but the story doesn't choose to focus on how they became broken. Instead it explores the quiet days after -- the mundane rituals of everyday, its surprises and challenges, how life stubbornly goes on. It took me a while to really get into the story despite enjoying the lyrical language. It's easy to figure out what happened to Carly, but the blurb and even Carly's thoughts remain guarded about it, the proverbial white elephant taking up space among the pages.

Still, it's Ms Eagar's very visually descriptive narration that kept me reading -- and eventually made me appreciate the slow and gentle pace that the story took. No shortcuts. No sudden epiphanies. Ms Eagar tosses around images like honey and devil moons and the raw blue of the ocean. 'My happiness is crunchy. Snapping, crackling and popping in the sun,' Carly thinks, and suddenly I could feel what she meant. This smooth and well-thought out language keeps Carly's story from descending into the full pity-me drama of a Telemundo show. Instead it feels realistic, at least to my limited experience (and I accept that I can't fully judge what is realistic in this sense).

I'm no surfer so all the surfing terms were lost on me, but everything else about Raw Blue is a revelation. If you ever find yourself with time and patience to spare this summer, I suggest picking this one up. It's intimate and philosophical, gentle and courageous. This was my first 'new adult' read -- or at least the first one I've read ever since I was introduced to the sub-genre -- and Raw Blue certainly doesn't disappoint.


Chachic said...

Lovely review, Chris! I agree with what you said - Raw Blue really is a quiet novel with beautiful writing. I'm glad you found it worth your while to read this, I had a feeling you'd enjoy getting to know Carly and Ryan. Yes to more New Adult reads. :)

dementedchris said...

Winner ang writing style. If I had read this as an e-book, I would have highlighted quite a number of passages!

Tin said...

I don't think I've read anything under this sub-genre. At least not that I can remember.

Raw Blue sounds wonderful and different. I'll put this on my list. :)