Her entry begins:
I just finished Colin Winnette’s Haints Stay, which staggered me. It’s often a brutally violent book, but that was fine with me because I loved how this rash physicality and the shifting identities and protagonists unsettled me. This jarred and unsafe feeling also twines with a way the novel, for all its use of genre, lifts us out of any known world into a kind of dreamscape, or “voidscape” maybe; I deeply admired this effect. (I read an interview with Winnette after I finished and learned the term “acid Western” for the first time; now I realize I’m a sub-genre fan.) And also Winnette’s stark, recursive sentences sometimes floored me: “Things changed in town. They changed often. There was no use fighting it. What they did was, they found a way and worked it until they worked a new one.” I will...[read on]About Into the Valley, from the publisher:
Ruth Galm’s spare, poetic debut novel, set in the American West of early Joan Didion, traces the drifting path of a young woman as she skirts the law and her own oppressive anxiety.Visit Ruth Galm's website.
Into the Valley opens on the day in July 1967 when B. decides to pass her first counterfeit check and flee San Francisco for the Central Valley. Caught between generations and unmarried at 30, B. doesn’t understand the new counterculture youths. She likes the dresses and kid gloves of her mother’s generation, but doesn’t fit into that world either.
B. is beset by a disintegrative anxiety she calls “the carsickness,” and the only relief comes in handling illicit checks and driving endlessly through the valley. As she travels the bare, anonymous landscape, meeting an array of other characters—an alcoholic professor, a bohemian teenage girl, a criminal admirer—B.’s flight becomes that of a woman unraveling, a person lost between who she is and who she cannot yet be.
Writers Read: Ruth Galm.