Sunday, August 12, 2012


Vg Lee's novels demonstrate a putative, seamless lightness of touch. Like a glass of champagne her work is so readable that it is guzzled in one go. But like good champagne it both stands the test of time and its taste lingers on after consumption. Vg Lee possesses a unique quality wherein both the light and the dark are simultaneously coexistent. It is very tough, for most novelists, to maintain a comic touch yet reflect the profundities of life through that vein and Vg lee has both qualities in abundance.

As a stand up comedienne Vg Lee is possessed of a natural, lively sense of humor her work demonstrates. Humor, not of the slapstick kind but woven and blended within narrative structure. It arises not from some random, unknown area but from within the quotidian, everyday things in human lives. Lorna Tree and Joanie Littler may, on the face of it, seem totally different. Yet both have a rich inner life, an inner fantasy world which compensates and provides restitution from the exiguities of a circumscribing outer reality. Joanie is a brilliant creation because her fantasy life is imbued with a self realization which her real life becomes a working towards. Can a life of fantasy be that phantasmal if it provides solace? In fact Joanie recalls The character of Joan in Margaret Atwood's Lady oracle  and both novels are comic romps. As Joanie And Lorna demonstrate an overcompensating life is also fraught with danger. As the past unravels, as aspects of experience unfurl coterminously with the fantasy constituents a sense of danger, an undercurrent of inner violence becomes palpably disquieting. Within the seeds of apotheosis lie the dangers of self destruction.

Vg Lee is classed as a lesbian novelist and one review compares her to Jeanette winterson. And while the identity of lesbian author has become a political necessity, a gesture of proclaiming one's sexuality this encapsulation, particularly in the case of Vg is rather generalizing and limiting. Her work is universal and her inward landscapes evince a profound understanding of the illusions, self deceptions, exonerations and expiations that human beings are constituted by.

Her adroit light brushstrokes are often acknowledged as is the dark psychic underbelly she constructs through her characters. But Vg Lee's depth is most often ignored. Joanie is a metonym of the illusions that all of us harbor at a subterranean level. The forms her fantasies take are merely an actualization of self same nascent propensities in all of us. Lorna's tragic childhood is a mirror of mortifying experiences we all have. Her penumbral life is irradiated by the amorphous woman in beige.Haven't Brad pitt's, Richard Gere's, though not equally phantasmatic illustrated our need for an alternate world.

The ability to strike two discordant chords, that of comedy and depth, light and dark is special to Vg Lee. She is cognizant of our darkness but her ability to give us narrative light through this darkness is a special gift. The iridescent surfaces, the crepuscular exteriority combine with an incandescence whose luminous sheen affirms. It is not unsullied innocence but experiential arriving at a consciousness of affirmation. For this gift, she should be thanked.