MORTAL LOVE: Day 5
And here it comes--the rush, the glorious danger, erupting into the present-day:
The hairs on his arms rose. He reached for the door, was arrested by the crackle of flame and something that blurred his vision: a bright arabesque coiling and uncoiling in the air before him. He cringed, watched in horror as the shining arabesque became a rainbow-finned tail. The pressure on his mouth exploded into the taste of burned fish and honey. He felt a jolting sensation, as of a train jerking to a halt, and flailed at the air for safety.
"See or shut your eyes," commanded Juda.
And yet we find that this sudden intercession of the other on page 145 of Mortal Love isn't so sudden after all. It's been presaged by sensuality, by excess of detail, by a hyper-reality of precision that we always knew meant another world, as if there were so many other worlds overlapping that the red of that embroidered cushion over there on the couch was so vibrant because so repeated, the sensation of scent, touch, taste emboldened and echoed a thousandfold...
...small things burst and belched beneath his shoes, tiny conical caps of mushrooms, fleshy green earth tongues, red-tipped fungi that exploded with a scent of apples and kelp. There were heaps of old brick, marbled with a soft bloom of turquoise mold. The air was sweet with a strange pervasive smell of apples, as though they stood inside an orchard within sight of the sea. (page 13)
...ferociously fragmented, almost purely geometric images, like the endlessly replicating honeycombs traced across your eyelids during an acid trip...extravagantly detailed canvases filled with trees whose trunks sprouted nests of bees with men's faces, armies of insects, women who rode dogs big as horses... (page 22)
But all Daniel could really fix on were her eyes. An astonishing deep pure green, like a marble held up to the sun, they seemed oddly unfocused, her gaze abstracted, like that of a nocturnal creature unaccustomed to the sun, or some marine animal dragged onto dry ground. (page 50)
Her eyes and hair and skin pressed themselves upon him as though he were washed paper absorbing the touch of sable and ink. (page 99)
Hand has done a superb job of preparing the reader for the uncovering of further mysteries, either in this world or another. But she has also shown us that our own world is impossibly complex and beautiful.
I'm feeling this novel now, living inside of it, and for that reason it will become more and more difficult to comment on it.