Elia Winters – Hairpin Curves

This book was a tiny bit slow to grab me, but once the actual roadtrip got going I was all in.

The logistical details of getting from place-to-place were credible and anchored the story for me. Winters’ prose is light on physical description, so I found the portrayals of the places they visited evocative more than vivid, but I also thought that suited the mood of the story well. Like, having never been to the Grand Ole Opry myself, I didn’t know what it looked like or sounded like, but I felt the emotional impact of the visit on the characters. But when they go somewhere I’ve been myself, the details felt right, even if they were sparing.

But what really worked about this for me was the sense of timelessness and disconnection from the world outside of the roadtrip. The enforced proximity and boredom were a very effective way to surface the tensions between the protagonists.

Winters uses a limited third-person omniscient view that switches between letting us into Megan’s head and into Scarlett’s head, quite often multiple times within the same scene. I found myself wondering how different the book would have been with alternating first-person; I think I would have appreciated having distinct narrative voices, and it might have been clearer how the way the women see each other is changing through the course of the book. But then again, that might have made it too clear; one of the things I think this book is really good at is portraying is how the characters really aren’t sure what they want or what they’re feeling.

The spoken dialogue and internal monologues both have some big lumps of getting-it-out-all-at-once, and it’s a bit hermetic – there are a few supporting characters, but they mostly seem there for the protagonists to react to. But as soon as I finished this I bought more of the author’s books.

Published by therealsummervillain

likes: equality, making things easier to use, biking, jangle, distortion, monogamy dislikes: bigotry, policies that jeopardize people, lack of transparency

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