A Lady Talks Books: Playing The Bones.

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Type of Book: Novel
Author: Louise Redd

Playing The Bones.

Plume
1997

Why I picked up this book: In my quest for books about music, including fiction, all a part of my reading for pulling an old screenwrite project off the back burner, and it fell into my find of random books (I can’t remember where I got this one), this one somehow fell into my hands, second hand (Might have been Galveston Bookshop)) and signed by the author to it’s original owner, a sign that people really do purge their books. Now granted there are many books out there signed to me….over three thousand burned in a storage unit, another at least thousand went lord knows where from my ex-h, more turned to mush in a broken pipe flooding, and more lost still, though far less than any other time, when I went to “Tahiti,” but I have never actually been able to book purge. I suppose that I do have some floating out there that I lent and never got back (eh hem people.)

Personally I am a spine breaker, dog earer, note maker, marks all through out, and let’s not even talk about the highlighting. So I am usually more embarrassed than not in handing over my books. But each shows my love…each drop of soup or coffee or smear of turmeric or chocolate that the pages contain.

What was I talking about? Oh yes…the novel, Playing the Bones, by Louise Redd. A book about a woman who cheats on her fiancee with a jazz musician (and all the racial stuff that comes in a Texas town of white woman cheating on her white man with a black man stuff, too.) The book takes place in Houston…a delight I hadn’t known until until I began reading it. You could take a tour of H-Town through this book. Any other Houston or Texas placed books you can recommend?

Anyhow….

I’ll admit..the writing is very first novel (seriously I seem to attract these, or is it that honestly after an author survives the first they can’t bring themselves to write the second? We are’t all Stephen King, after all. Or is it that I like their first so much that I can’t bring myself for disappointment that can come in a second?) However, this author does have a second and I already placed my order.

Austin Chronicle  has a great review written up.
And the author is just that….opposite it seems of her character…and that…is hard to pull out of ones ass. We authors do write a character either as we see ourselves or as we wish we were to be, so sometimes being the opposite of our own self isn’t a far stretch for a writer…maybe…however. This brings me back to Stephen King…pondering…pondering.

In one way it’s one of those books written by a white woman who has no clue about the black man. In reading this I wonder if she’s ever even actually met one. Though on the other hand, I have met this exact same man, I swear to gawd. But then again it really hits one way/view/type very head on at the same time. Which is both good…and bad…and just up for grabs of haters, but brings different lines of conversation to the table. Love it or hate it.

She truly gets her own fiancee’s character so nail on the head that you really do know this guy. Sad as that may be.
Her characters relationship with her abusive mother just again fell into my daughter-mother relationship category as well and was…wow. Here, I suggest you read it for yourself.

Weirdly all very different entities:

The relationship in herself as a teacher/woman/therapy.

The relationship with her fiancee.

The relationship with her jazz singing lover.

And the relationship with her mother…

…are so incredibly vastly crisp and clearly different written without a single smudge yet brought together as in blue and yellow make green in this novel that I applaud the author on her abilities that so many authors get lost in.

Texas Monthly   has a fantastic little insight in a write up of the author on what being a writer is really like.

Getting lost in the city through her book really felt like home. Her story of the Rothkel Chapel is hilarious….especially when you know the Rothko Chapel.

Overall it’s a great book about…womanhood. The real life of it and the fucked up we can be, the sabotage of our own lives we often do, and the trying to find the path we belong on and the woman we are. I admit that at first I was all eye rolling on this book. A bit stereotypical, a bit fantasy not in a good way. More than a bit bold. But I ended up hooked to the end and fell fully in love last paragraph.

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