An excerpt of my review of Yelena Moskovich’s scintillating third novel: A Door Behind A Door. Moskovich is one of my contemporary favorites, a bold and daring stylist who extends the frontiers of language and vision.
In the afterlife
You could be headed for the serious strife
Now you make the scene all day
But tomorrow there’ll be Hell to pay
—The Squirrel Nut Zippers, “Hell”
Look out there. In the distance, toward the horizon. Can you see it? More importantly, can you feel it? A solitary rowboat adrift at sea, the waves like scallop-fringed wraiths from a Japanese woodblock beginning to gather around it, and the individual in that boat, brave and terrified and lost and found all at once, continues what has been called the “awful rowing toward God.” Here, now, comes the soundtrack, as if the silver linings in clouds host angels porcelain voices: Row row row your boat / Gently down the stream / Merrily merrily merrily merrily / Life is a but a dream. Or nightmare. Track #2 is is the remix of another cheery children’s tune: The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round…. Will the wheels ever stop? What kind of bus is this? Is there a way to get off? Where is it going, really? And the bus driver, with the missing eye and wax-slicked moustache and non-existent lips, why doesn’t he ever say a word? Just leers into the rearview from time to time, where you can’t tell if his one good eye is full of malice or mischief or both. These, and other liminally hazardous forms of travel, constitute the transit inner-verse as constructed by Yelena Moskovich.