The Melancholy of Mechagirl Paperback – July 16, 2013
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 7.4 ounces
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1421556130
- ISBN-10 : 9781421556130
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
- Publisher : Haikasoru; Original ed. edition (July 16, 2013)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 1421556138
- Best Sellers Rank: #984,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I originally picked up The Melancholy of Mechagirl after reading Catherynne Valente's Palimpsest and being absolutely blown away by the gorgeous language that truly felt like a paint brush on the canvas of my mind. Her language was so vivid I could almost taste the story. That language seems to be Ms. Valente's marker as it is found throughout The Melancholy of Mechagirl. I love the duality expressed in her short stories, how things are beautiful but in a non-traditional way. She shows that things can be dark or "weird" and still positively gorgeous.
Silently and Very Fast is the story I found myself pondering days after putting it down. I am not familiar with Singularity stories so this was a new concept for me. The way the characters interacted and eventually twisted together was brilliant. What struck further, however, was the emotions of the characters, the why of their actions, and the palpable heartbreak.
I highly recommend all of Catherynne Valente's works.
I would add this caveat, if you're starting with Catherynne Valente, get The Bread We Eat In Dreams first. It's got several of the same stories, (including 3 of my favorite 4 off this book) and a bunch more to boot.
List Of Stories:
The Melancholy Of Mechagirl
Ink, Water, Milk
Fifteen Panels Depicting the Sadness of The Baku and the Jotai
Ghosts of Gunkanjima
Thirteen Ways of Looking At Space/Time
One Breath, One Stroke
Story No. 6
Fade To White
The Emperor of Tsukayama Park
Memoirs of a Girl Who Failed To Be Born From A Peach
The Girl with Two Skins
Silently and Very Fast
The whole book is an excellent assemblage, and I especially loved the poem at the beginning, about the titular mechagirl.
~Boys won’t do; the memesoup is all wrong. They stomp when they should kiss~
Silently and Very Fast is a singularity story without being the kind of singularity story that makes me want humanity to just go ahead and never transcend. Thirteen Ways of Looking at Spacetime made me cry a bit, because the language was so tuned to my frequency, because the pain was familiar. It was like hearing an old sad lovesong you thought you knew, and hearing the lyrics in a different way all at once.
~Hermes breached the matter/antimatter boundary and found Persephone hiding herself in the chromodynamic garden, her mouth red with the juice of hadron-pomegranates. She had eaten six seeds and called them Up, Down, Charm, Strange, Top, and Bottom. At this, Hades laughed the laugh of unbroken supersymmetries. He said: She travels at a constant rate of speed and privileges no observer. She is not mine, but she is not yours. And in the end, there is nothing in creation which does not move.~
But Fade to White, ah, this one haunts me, because it is close to the dystopias of my childhood, the radiation and the fear of infertility, and all of the things you would grow up with if you knew that you would have 2 minutes from the flash bright as the sun. And she takes all of that and filters it down into a coming of age story that keeps me up at nights.
Read if: You are ready to let go of what you think you know of Japan, and learn some fairy tales, and some horror stories, and about the souls of machines.
Skip if: You are not at all amused by artsy meaningful short stories. These stories are probably super annoying if you don't like layers.
Also read: Palimpsest, for more of Valente's longing stories.