Booking Through Thursday Asks: What are you reading right now? What made you choose it? Are you enjoying it? Would you recommend it? (And, by all means, discuss everything, if you’re reading more than one thing!)
The Hungry Mirror, a novel by Lisa Nikolits, in on my reading plate right now. It came to me from Inanna Press, in Toronto, and I’ve long been impressed with the quality of work they publish. They focus on women’s issues in novels like Jackfish, the Vanishing Village, by Sarah Felix Burns, and Tricia Dower’s short story collection, Silent Girl.
The Hungry Mirror goes deeply into the matter of eating disorders, told from the perspective of a woman whose obsession with food rules every aspect of her life, and has done for as long as she can remember. She alternately hates herself for the obsession, and applauds herself for the control she is able to exert over her body.
It is another ravenous bloody Sunday, and I am trying to pass the time until I can eat again. Nothing like a day of starvation to bring out the snarling animal in a woman.
I am so ashamed. Because there is absolutely nothing noble about my preoccupations. My pursuit of getting as close as I can to the bones of my body is so horribly self-involved, self -obsessed.
But if I can just feel the sharpness of bone it will be all right. I just have to get through today and I will be all right.
I can do it. I must.
This is a fascinating, but painful novel, well written with just the right touch of dark humor. It’s a portrait of a woman whose self-esteem has been fractured to the breaking point, a woman whose life appears near perfect from the outside, yet is decaying on the inside. I don’t think you can really enjoy a novel like this – be fascinated and horrified in equal measure, perhaps.
And be grateful for the simple pleasure of enjoying your food.