The Perennial Pandemonium
Excerpt from Lisa Halliday's Asymmetry
Love is volatile. Recalcitrant. Irrepressible. We do our best to tame it, to name it and plan for it and maybe even to contain it between the hours of six and twelve, or if you're Parisian five and seven, but like much of what is adorable and irresistable in this world it eventually tears free of you and, yes, sometimes you get scratched up in the process. It's human nature to try to impose order and form on even the most defiantly chaotic and amorphous stuff of life. Some of us do it by drafting laws, or by painting lines on the road, or by damming rivers or isolating isotopes or building a better bra. Some of us wage wars. Others write books. The most delusional ones write books. We have very little choice other than to spend our waking hours trying to sort out and make sense of the perennial pandemonium. To forge patterns and proportions where they don't actually exist. And it is this same urge, this mania to tame and possessthis necessary follythat sparks and sustains love.
by Katy Waldman
What closes the distance between a well-received novel and a literary phenomenon? The spaceship must be ingeniously made, of course; but then mysterious hyperdrives—luck, fate, the fixations of “the moment”—would appear to kick in. The fluttering way in which Halliday pursues her themes and preoccupations seems too idiosyncratic and beautiful to summarize. A novelist might wish to travel through the looking glass into another’s consciousness, but what if she gets swallowed by her own reflection? “Just because you can’t see yourself in a reflection doesn’t mean no one can.”