|Reviews for Es ist genug|
| Asenza chapter 1 . 3/21/2011
I'll just start with the obvious. I loved the ending. Blood, bone and brain matter, what a masterpiece!
I do wonder about the title, though. I liked it in several ways because... it was enough that despite the horribly lacking relationship between Mrs Dominic and Mr Howard, it is enough that she twists her entire life around to cater to him, so long as she believed that she was the bad one, the selfish one to want more. It was enough that if she could convince herself of her usefulness to her husband, she wouldn't so strongly feel the lack of his companionship.
The other thing about the title, It is Enough (hopefully that is right, Google translate) is that it might turn off potential readers, scared away by German due to the fact that they are unable to immediately discern the name of the piece.
I'm sorry this review is all over the place, still drinking my tea. I liked the setting, the time period, the language you used. It felt very authentic, not like you just threw in a bugger or kipper or two just for a little exotic flair.
What I felt could use some more attention is the very introductory paragraph. "For a week now, Mrs Dominic had left a bottle of sherry and a quart of water outside the door of her husband, Mr Howard". Good, great. Starts the reader off with a lot of questions, like why the husband couldn't get it himself, and why do they have different last names. But then you continued, "... because she was a good and faithful wife and always did as her husband said." I really do not think that that line needs to be said at all, because throughout the rest of the piece you can and do SHOW us that she is almost obsessively devoted to the task of taking care of her husband.
Continuing on into the next line that begins with. "She had done this often while reflecting on the early years...-" The lead in to the memory was far too sudden, and felt a bit out of place right at the beginning of the story, especially since there didn't seem to be an immediate trigger for the memory. I understand that the information needs to be said, especially, "he had apologized some months later" but I think it could be given to the reader in smaller pieces.
Think in the opening of Ulysses, Part Four, where Leopold spends god knows how long preparing breakfast. You could maybe start the story out with Mrs Dominic preparing the bottle of sherry and quart of water while lamenting the amount of food she would have to eat herself because Mr Howard hardly ever took any while working.
Again, while the second and third paragraphs onwards contain information that the reader needs to have, I really feel that they should be broken into smaller pieces, interspersed with... well anything really. Like more of the supposed dialogue between Mrs Dominic and Mr Howard. O anything else- have Mrs Dominic wander around the house, thinking about how many rooms and spaces she has spent time in alone. I know this is more of an overview of their relationship, but without some sort of grounding, some the reader can lose track of precisely when and where the real story is taking place. It jumps between the week Mrs Dominic speent leaving sherry for her husband, to the year after their marriage, to their walks along the banks of the Thames, back to the week before the latest project, to when she was a child, to when she and Mr Howard argued about having children... yes, some sort of focal point is needed, or the week in particular needs to be mentioned more often to remind the reader that while Mrs Dominic and Howard have a history, the real story is week of the latest, last project.
On another note, I felt that Mr Howard's... artwork at the end could use a bit more foreshadowing. Yes, he and his strange and scruffy friends left The Lesser Key of Solomon on his desk, but the problem is, like the title- at least to me- that information isn't readily accessible. I had to google it. Yes, there was a missing man named Jonathan Nichols who Howard asked about, but I didn't get it until the end. That's not foreshadowing if you can only, reasonably put two and two together at the end of the piece.
The Hyacinth/Garden of Life sculpture also created a few questions that could use some addressing in the form of hints and foreshadowing previous to the end. How and where did Mr Howard get the bodies from? Graveyards, paupers graves, I suppose but if he hardly ever went out, on a diet of pure alcohol and water, how did have the strength to get them himself? If he didn't, how did he get them? How did he get them into the house without Mrs Dominic finding out? After a week, after a few days, how did she not notice the smell?
Mr. Howard's production was a shock, but to me it came so far out of left field- in the beginning he was sculpting a Japanese Maple and by the end he was doing body art- that I felt more that you were going for pure shock/gross-out value, and it cheapened the revelation.
Perhaps if you provided more information about Howard, more of his history, how Mrs Dominic had met him, why she had married him, whether or not he had ever been normal in the course of their marriage I would appreciate the turn to mad-artist far more.
I hope this helps.