LIFE IS ABOUT LOSING EVERYTHING by Lynn Crosbie (Anansi), 348 pages, $24.95 paper. Rating: NNN
Sometimes being out of control can be a good thing. That's the feeling you get reading Lynn Crosbie's memoir. The poet, provocateur and pop culture critic has packed well over 100 flash stories, episodes and observations into a book weighted with paradox.
In detailing her years of trauma, sexual excess and drug use, Crosbie comes across as a model of self-love and self-loathing, cruelty and kindness, loyalty and treachery. And she's obsessed with both beauty and grotesquerie, a preoccupation tailor-made for her poetic sensibilities.
Thing is, it's hard to get a handle on the through-line, despite the reappearances of certain friends and boyfriends, the repeated references to the body changes Crosbie has undergone and her obvious yearning for a love beyond that of her dog, Frank. And though it's all skilfully written, there's no emotional punch.
It's also way too long - by at least 50 pages. You get the sense Crosbie stored up 10 years' worth of material and didn't do the curating required for this kind of project.
But for dipping, it's superb. I had a wonderful time experimenting to see where I would land if I randomly opened the book. Ten times I broke the spine to a page, and on every one I found an absolutely beautiful phrase or sentence.
Crosbie is a unique, if undisciplined, talent.
Lynn Crosbie launches her memoir at the Mascot tonight (Thursday, May 10), with an after-party at the Cadillac Lounge. See listing.
Write Books at firstname.lastname@example.org.