Saturday, October 5, 2013

This here was like no elevator I had ever seen before

Two of the tales in my new book, Twisted, make use of an elevator, which is more than a transportation device. It is a symbol of the descent from the realm of the living into the realm of the dead. In I Am What I Am the elevator falls from the surface of the ground down to hell. Here is how it is described by the protagonist, JobĘžs wife:

But now, this here was like no elevator I had ever seen before.
How can I begin to describe it to you? Space was tight. In distress I looked up—perhaps by force of habit—to cry, to say a prayer. Stones, torn roots, autumn leaves, most of them already rotten, even tiny lizards and worms were soaring over us in a big swirl, bouncing from time to time off the walls, and then being blown up and away with a big spit, straight off the top of this thing.
After a while you could breathe again, if you were so inclined. I was not. In the shadows, if you dared brush your fingers around you, you might feel the mud slipping upward along the walls as we went on falling.
Then came various outlines, various shells and pebbles and hairy seaweed, all floating across a layer of damp air. From time to time a fish skeleton swam by, lit from inside, like the neon signs at the top of that hotel in Jerusalem. And then, puff! The skeleton hit the elevator wall and crumbled to dust.
Layer after layer rose away. Water, vapor, gas; cold, hot, toasty. All the while the floor kept accumulating hairy strands of algae, crumpled insect wings, chopped off lizard tails, split-open pebbles, coal dust...

And here, is quite a different description, no longer in the first language but rather a bit remote. The elevator itself is airy and nearly transparent, because it exists only in the mind of the protagonist. Another difference is that here, it falls from the tenth floor and we will never know where it would land. Here is the elevator in The Hollow:

That was when, with a clap, she closed the book, then went through the missing door. With one easy step, which helped her ignore how final it was, she was flying, her hair pointing up, blowing wildly in the vertical wind. At first she avoided spreading open her arms, for fear of scraping them against the walls. Then, she heard her laughter, swirling loud and free, because there were no walls, only papery architectural designs around her. Sliding dreamily down, she was closer and closer to where she was headed all these years.

"A twisted exploration that turns and returns this reader to the singular question: 
What is woman?"

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