Signed Books Scott Heim In Awe

ISBN 13: 9780060186876

In Awe

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9780060186876: In Awe

Three outcasts--Sarah, mourning the death of her best friend, Marshall; Harriet, his grieving mother; and Boris, a teenage orphan--encounter the ultimate horror and violence because of Boris's fascination with a beautiful but savage classmate. Tour."

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Review:

The poetic language of In Awe places images like mutilated mannequins and a defunct miniature golf course in a weird, dark Kansas setting. Scott Heim's lyrical tale of three outcasts (a 17-year-old boy, a 32-year-old woman, and an old woman) works its eerie magic on two levels. On one level, it's about people so vilified by society that their ambitions come from horror stories: Boris is writing a story in which the three friends will rise from the grave "with worms on [their] wrists like gray bracelets" and wreak zombie vengeance, and Sarah wants to "star in movies where everyone will suffer sobbing and she alone will survive for top billing in the sequels." On another level, it's about an obsessive desire for a love object (Boris's for another boy he sees as "half-hyena, half-swan") that is so fierce, it can only be consummated in death.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Our Gang meets Godzilla in a leather bar on the Great Plains, in Heim's disappointing follow-up to Mysterious Skin (1995). Within a particular gay subculture, Kansas may function as a kind of byword for homoerotic camp, but for most people who've never been there it sounds like a quiet enough place where very little goes on. They'll hardly be prepared, then, for life in Lawrence, the university town where Boris, Harriet, and Sarah have formed one of the most unlikely trios since the brothers Karamazov. Harriet, in her 60s, was the mother of Marshall, who was a friend and mentor to the gay Boris and the prodigiously heterosexual Sarah, both of them CINCs (Children in Need of Care) from the local juvenile detention center. Marshal died recently, and his mother acts out her grief by hanging with his two teenaged friends, both creative types themselves: Boris is writing a horror novel for school, and Sarah is fascinated by cinema. Sarah's obsessive nymphomania, which landed her in the juvenile home in the first place, has come back to haunt her in the person of Rex, a local redneck who's stalking her. Boris, in love with Rex, would give anything to be stalked, but Rex doesn't know he's alive. There are vivid, detailed flashbacks describing Sarah's sexual adventures. There are lyrical and sad flashbacks describing Harriet's recollections of her son. There are scenes from Boris's novel. And there is a confused subplot concerning the disappearance of young girls in town, with all the usual suspicions and hysteria, that adds up to little in the end. Heim is a master of unnecessary detail who badly overestimates the amount of literary freight his train can pull. In a contrived and obvious climax, his story finally seems not so much fulfilled as denuded. Empty posturing without much lurking behind it, save adolescent nihilism and more than a hint of misogyny. -- Copyright 1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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