Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Larque on the Wing

Larque on the Wing by Nancy Springer is a fantasy novel that spends its time telling us to embrace our inner child. Well, at least that's what it felt like to me.

from the back of the book:
A "dopplganger" she unconsciously created out of thin air turns out to be herself at age ten -a scabby-kneed accuser who entices the forty-year-old wife, mother, and successful crafter of home decoration products out into the adult night in search of lost dreams. But Larque's bizarre nocturnal journey is leading her farther from home and hearth than she has ever strayed - and there might be no way back. For the road ends at Popular street, where life is exciting and gay. And there, beneath the talented fingers of a beautiful,tormented cowboy, Larque is to be remade - becoming a new "Lark," younger, stronger, more courageous...and male.

It sounds fascinating, but I find it too heavy on the preachy psycho-babble of accepting separated and repressed segments of ourselves into a coherent whole. The idea that her ego has to be male to be portrayed as strong, that the "mother" within her is repressive and judgmental and frumpy, that she is the only one whose other self had a different gender... I don't know... Why couldn't her strong, youthful, rebellious self just as easily be female? I think it buys into some of the very stereotypes it is obviously trying to confront. This just feels dated to me.

I also disagree with the author's theology, but that's another subject entirely. I believe Jesus was conceived in Mary and born of 2 parents and wasn't "tidily tucked" into Mary by God.

The book won the 1994 Tiptree award. It appears to be out of print, so I consider myself fortunate to have found it at half price at my local used book store.

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