First Impressions

When you sit on the plastic chairs at the office, your knee continuously bouncing and your heart trying to escape from the front of your chest, you tell yourself interviews are not that big of a deal. It doesn’t matter if your suit is spattered with mud because you had to walk a mile to the office, or if your shoes are untied because they’re a size too small, passed down cause you can’t afford a new set.

And yet, it’s all a lie.

Everyone knows first impressions matter, even though it’s a terrible thing. We are not defined by our first introductions – because we would all surely fail if we were – but they still matter because people are imperfect: we form biases and match to stereotypes. And while sometimes, they don’t fit the impression, sometimes they do.

Which is why first impressions for a book matter.

In this case, I started The Vorrh, which I’m still reading albeit very slowly, and the first thing that came to mind is how abstract the style is. There are definitely parts that are concrete, and he weaves words like still photos, dropping sense-stimulating images where it best fits the scene. But then there’s pieces like this:

The bow quickened, twisting and righting itself as the days and the nights pulled and manipulated its contours. There was a likeness to Este’s changing during her drying, although that transition had nothing in common with all the deaths I had witnessed and participated in before. With Este, an outward longing marked all, like sugar absorbing moisture and salt releasing it. Every hour of her final days rearranged her with fearsome and compelling difference. (Catling 11)

I liked the first sentence – it really brings the image of the bone drying and setting into place, but then there was the next description, completely abstract, with Catling trying to balance it with the sugar image, and I felt a little confused as to why there was this longing, this fearsome difference. I would’ve liked to see a little more explanation, tie this to some memory, but maybe with our orientation of just within the brains of this man, we’re not supposed to know yet.

Maybe the non-sense making of the abstract helps attract the reader to follow along and want to understand. I’m not quite sure of the effect on me besides confusing me a bit, but perhaps on other readers it had a different effect.

I think this needs more consideration before I can make a more firm recommendation.

Catling, B. The Vorrh. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2015. Print.


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