I've just finished Kathe Koja's moving new young adult novel Going Under, and I continue to be deeply moved by Koja's work.
Going Under is the story of a bright, home-schooled brother-sister pair who struggle with their love and resentment for one another, under the hapless gaze of their clueless parents. Hilly, the sister, got involved in the local high-school's paper and made her first outside-world friends, one of whom has recently committed suicide, shattering Hilly's life. Now her family struggles to bring her back from the dark pit she's fallen into.
I first started reading Koja with her ground-breaking, lush and literary horror novels like The Cipher. These baroque, grisly novels shocked and engrossed me, impressing me with their verbal pyrotechnics. I thought of Koja as a prose stylist first and foremost.
Then Koja started to publish slim, moving young adult novels, books that were written in a simple, bare-bones style that was more Hemingway than Marquez. It was then that I realized that beneath the prose-tricks, Koja wrote amazing characters, badly flawed people whom you loved and hated, who destroyed each other with their best intentions.
Going Under has that in spades. In spare brushstrokes, Koja sketches out several people, monsters, angels, devils and bystanders, each of them climbing out of the pages and telling you their stories. After a scant 120 pages (read all in one gulp of an afternoon), I felt like I'd spent a month living with her people, getting to know and love (or hate) them.
If you are or you know a smart young reader who's ready for something different, Koja's YA books like Going Under are like nothing you've ever read before. And if you're an adult, Koja's YA novels are a visit to the horrors and wonders of adolescence, a ticket to a world where young people aren't mere literary devices, but their own species, separate and whole; vulnerable and strong.
Neglected public payphones in New York City are being turned into “GuyFi” stations: a place where one can rub one out for the sake of “stress relief.” Annalee Newitz reports on the wank booths from a company named “Hot Octopus”… The company reported that at least 100 men used the booth on its opening day […]
You’d be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end. The last recorders were sold in 2002. ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge]
A leaked Comcast memo discloses that the company’s consumer data caps have nothing to do with network congestion, contrary to its public claims. The internet service provider has often complained (such as when lobbying against net neutrality) that it must impose limits on service to prevent network congestion. The argument suggests that these measures are […]
Remember back to the time when people thought java was just a hip way to talk about coffee? Or you vaguely remembered from geography class that it’s an island in the South Pacific? We’ve come a long way since then and now that we’ve rocket blasted into the tech future, you’re going to need to […]
Plastic is so 2013. You don’t want to buy something only to throw it away or lose it and barely care. You like nice things and want to hang onto them. The Plazmatic lighter here is a high quality, high tech alternative to the typical cheap, plastic lighter you get at the old gas station. […]
Real engineers build things. Super cool engineers build things with their hands and fingers, like our engineering forefathers did. No idea where to even begin to do that? This step by step Arduino course is now 92% off and is going to get you up and running, from zero to hero, in no time. So […]