|Review:||Violet Gryfindor says:|
I've seen this story come up on the forums and once I saw that it was written in stream of consciousness, I knew I had to read it. There was a challenge with that style a few years ago, and I'm always eager for another taste of it in fanfiction. :D
Before reviewing, I took a look at the previous reviews to see what those readers had found (and to gain some further insight from your responses), and I realized that I'd read and made sense of the story rather differently. This interpretation came to me when Rose said "If I tell you, you are never going to look at me the same way again!" - after that point, the pieces of the story fit together perfectly. I saw the figure as someone who had attacked Rose near the woods, and she was left filled with guilt, disgust, self-loathing. She feels tainted, and cannot ever go back to what she was before. The "come, Sugar" voice was the man's, luring her in, the words running through her memory again and again, driving her mad. He need not be real at the end, only a figment of her nightmare come to haunt her. He is real to her at that moment, and that blurring of real/unreal is what makes the story work so well. Rose is lost within a nightmare, and it transforms all the world around her - she truly cannot be saved.
One stylistic feature that stood out to me was your inclusion of very banal details because they were in sharp contrast - but perfect balance - with the abstraction of Rose's thoughts. The image of Scorpius brandishing that chicken wing fit oddly well, it and other such details demonstrating the ways in which Rose has become disconnected to the world around her. She cannot even eat - she is no longer grounded, hardly human, only a drifting mind, unravelling toward insanity. It's horrible that no one but Scorpius reaches out to help, and even he is too late. She is so much alone in her mind and her heart - but is that something of her own making, or caused by the thing she can't name, the nightmare that dogs her steps? She can't be okay, but does that mean that she can't be saved? She never asks herself this, and that's what is the tragedy for me as a reader, that she is convinced that she's doomed and there's nothing anyone can do to help her.
There's a lot I could analyze in this story, and I love coming across stories like this, the ones that offer so much rich material to dig through without providing any set answers. To me, at least, this story is very much open to interpretation - the stream of consciousness style does that because it's so abstract, so rooted in the mind and the imagination. These kind of stories play with both mind and heart, making you think and making you feel, and you've definitely achieved that here with fantastic results.
There was one little typo to point you toward, and that's "sooth" instead of "soothe". That was the only thing I noticed. Amazing work with this story! I'm looking forward to your new story, too - you take risks and experiment with style, which makes each story of yours that I read refreshing and exciting. :D
Author's Response: You're an absolute doll, you know that, Susan? Your review has absolutely made my week! Everything I write is stream of consciousness - I can't seem to write with any sort of outline or plan. That was actually my challenge! I love the style so much!
You're such a perceptive reader/review, Susan! It's something I really appreciate as a writer! I also love that you've taken a different route with this story! As you probably saw from my long, and slightly repetitive, responses, I am an advocate of giving the reader the freedom to interpret for themselves. Your interpretation is fabulous, I might add! I like how you saw the "come, Sugar" sections as her attacker's voice. This was my original, rather fleeting, intention, but I didn't linger on it and let it evolve on it's own. I'm also really glad you observed the blurring of reality. Tragedies, big and small, all distort our perceptions and leave us a bit more fragmented than we already are (oh, how postmodern is that! :D). Yes, you are definitely right, she cannot be saved. She is too far gone - her reality has been too altered. Even if Rose, in time, could overcome this, the experience itself leaves her identity fragmented and distorted.
Gosh, I'm just over the moon! A lot of my readers haven't liked the stark contrast between Rose's emotional turmoil and everyday happenings. See, I too, think that Scorpius waving about that chicken wing is oddly fitting. It's so normal. It's not abstract like emotions, but it's concrete and observable. You know, that's a good question you bring up. I would say, as the writer, I believe it's a bit of both. We tend to over analyze, make things melodramatic, or repress them so that it takes the tragedy or nightmare into this subliminal state where we just don't even really know anymore - that make sense?
That's such a huge compliment, I can't even tell you! I'm always worried that my writing isn't going to offer readers the chance to dig through the story, to make their own meaning - I'm always very nervous about that sort of thing. Yes, interpretation - my greatest love! :P
Thank you for pointing that out - I really don't ever edit/revise, which is probably bad, eh! Thank you so much for the wonderful and unexpected review! (I do experiment with time and perception and chronology in the new one, so perhaps it will be fairly good!)
Thank you, again, for the review! You're a gem, you are! :)