Review: Elizabeth Hand’s “Available Dark: A Crime Novel”

by writereaderly

elizabeth hand available darkThis was the ultra-dark and thrilling opposite to my recent nice-girl Scandi read, a nasty-woman’s take on murder, ancient Nordic spirituality, black metal, financial crisis, social suffering, drugs, photography and dark-darnesses of the soul. Excellent book. Traces photographer Cassandra Neary from the Lower East Side of Manhattan to Helsinki to Reykjavik as she snorts crank (crystal meth) and shoots death live. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel that reads so photographically, in that it is about photography but also so much about light, as an element, as a life-source, as a power. I’m going to do it, I’m going to call a novel about light and dark “luminous”. Terribly impressed. Read it.

Where it came from: Library
Time and manner of reading:
One absorbed afternoon/evening in the armchair
Where it went: Home
Best line of the book: “Photography is the art that justifies atrocity: war photography, pornography, memento mori, footprints left on a landscape where the last great auk died. None of us is innocent” (p.53)
Reminds me of/that: The film High Art
Who I’d recommend it to:
Readers willing to be impressed and deeply uncomfortable at the same time
Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; Stella Miles Franklin by Jill Roe; Gould’s Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan; Life on Earth by David Attenborough