Thursday, December 8, 2011
Nowhere Hall by Cate Gardner
Usual full disclosure: Cate Gardner is a long-time online friend of mine. I admire her writing enormously.
Nowhere Hall is a short novella published this past September and no longer available as far as I know (which is why I linked to Gardner's website instead of a buy link below). It was a limited edition that sold out very quickly.
Cate Gardner's writing is hard to describe. She has a vivid style that manages to be both brisk and dreamy, with nightmarish imagery presented with an almost childlike amusement. Nowhere Hall starts with a man trying to step out into the street, and it's not clear at first whether he's just walking to work or about to commit suicide. It's not even clear if he's actually alive--and that's what I love about her writing, the way she makes you wonder what the subtext is beneath the events she describes.
Nowhere Hall is short, and follows hapless, aging officeworker Ron as he fails to step in front of a bus (maybe) and stumbles into a hotel called The Vestibule. As the setting shifts and changes like something from a dream, Ron is forced to face a person and event from his past while still looking into his bleak future. It's beautifully written, evocative, and wryly funny. Don't you wish you had a copy?