Tuesday, September 05, 2006

When I was young and in my prime

Poetry and prose don't easily mix, and the combination is so often done badly. My biggest problem with the poetry collection/novel hybrid is that there so often seems little occasion for the poetry. And so in the case of When I Was Young and In my Prime by Alayna Munce, I must say stress first that it works, and that it works so well. The narrator is a poet, and the plot involves the decline of her grandparents in their old age, and also the dynamics of her own marriage. Munce is a wonderful writer, and she tells a story that isn't stock. It was an unbelievably fresh narrative, and I particularly enjoyed its geography. The end was powerful, and though it made me cry, it didn't leave me sad. Significantly, I would recommend this book to someone who didn't read poetry at all, and I think they would come away a little swayed by the form.