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Banana Rose by Natalie Goldberg

Banana Rose by Natalie Goldberg: Like, I suspect, most people who read this book, I picked it up out of a love for Goldberg’s books on writing, most notably Writing Down the Bones. In those books she emphasizes freewriting and original detail far more than standard stuff like plot, character, and revision, and it is quite evident in this debut novel. Nell is a hippie living near Taos, New Mexico; this is the story of her journey to becoming an artist. The language is vibrant and the metaphors unforgettable, but the story and dialogue often fall flat. Nell is a total brat for about the first half of the book, which was long enough that I didn’t really care much what happened to her by the end. That said, I cannot overemphasize the gorgeousness of the prose. Sure, the story is about Nell, but mostly it is a love letter to New Mexico. It made me long for the desert. Hopefully Goldberg’s later novels have improved character and story without losing the fantastic imagery.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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