Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cavedweller, Dorothy Allison

In this novel, Delia Byrd, who abandoned her two daughters in Cayro, Georgia to join a rock 'n'  roll band, returns to Cayro with her other daughter Cissy. She leaves behind the world in LA that she had known for ten years: the glitter of the rock 'n' roll world and dreams of singing and songwriting. I loved the style of this book, and also the premise of the book. The book was a little slow going in, but then I got really absorbed in it. There were many complicated relationships in this book, including a love-hate relationship between Cissy and her mother. Cissy, whose father has died, is angry at her mother Delia because she feels that Delia is partly responsible for his death. Delia had left Cissy's father earlier and moved into a different house. Cissy was always closer to her father than her mother. Also, of course, the relationship between Delia and the two daughters she left behind, and the way the town of Cayro reacts to her returning. In some ways, I don't blame Delia for leaving; this was her dream, and there is no place for two small children in a band. But I guess it was the way she did it that was so unforgivable. She also left her husband behind to raise her daughters, and then she didn't come back for ten years! Her daughters grew up without her, without a mother while she was having a great time in the band. Of the two sisters, Amanda is really despicable. She hates her Delia, though I can't really blame her for that, and is obsessed with religion. She tries to force Dede, the other sister, to go to church. Also, Amanda organizes a campaign at school against abortion. It was really terrible, and I like the character of Dede way more. Allison's writing style is quite distinctive, and I really enjoyed it. She tells the story in a straight and matter-of-fact way, but it is still charged with emotion and quite interesting. I only realized where the title came from until the second half of the book, and yet it was fitting. Though the book drags on a bit, this is one emotional ride of a novel, fraught with emotional uncertainty, and I loved it. The ending was also fairly satisfying. 434 pages, 5 stars.

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