A Vigorous Workout
Marc Nash (Extra-Curricular) is an intellectual. Nowhere is that fact more obvious than in his most recent novel, Three Dreams in the Key of G. Here, three narrative streams coalesce to provide some of the deepest existential philosophies you will find, all the while remaining grounded in the everyday world.
The first of the three narrators, Jean, is an elderly radical woman, known for her group and online movement. She has survived a difficult life into her golden years and now has the FBI on her as well as other government entities due to the ideas she propagates. It is these ideas and memes that give her a sense of being. She is thoroughly adamant about the superiority of women and even speaks to the point of DNA in this observation. Mostly however, she finds her identity as the value of the information she puts out, a collection of ideas and memes that she believes will live past her own life and spread to significant ends.
In the second narrative stream, entities known as A, C, G, and T converse and discourse over one another to determine the essence of life itself. Collectively, they call themselves the Creatrix.
A, C, G, and T, in real life represent the four nucleotide bases of DNA (Adenine, Cystosine, Guanine and Thymine.) Each nucleotide speaks in its own way, sometimes varying by the how the author arranges script on the page. Each of these characters delves deeply into the existence of man as well as DNA itself, often baring philosophical secrets haughtily. A, C, G, and T rail against mankind and also among themselves in comical ways.
The last narrator is the heart of the story. A mother of two very young daughters, one five and the other not even a toddler, keeps a personal journal that she reveals all to. The only one or thing in her life to which she does; her daughters are too young and her husband is distant, seemingly by her own choice. The focus of the novel is on women with men left to play the role of outsider.
It is through this last narrator that we feel the essence of day to day living, even as she dissects it in her journal. Here for example is the haunting, familiar picture of a five-year old at her mother’s make-up table.
“There she was, sat at my dressing table. In front of my hinged mirrored tryptich, that gateway to the source of identity. The family Omphalos. For I too had sat at such a mirror, a child seeking reassurance of my mother’s continued existence when confronting her temporary absence from the house.”
It is through her trials and day-to-day mother’s life that we feel the inheritance of mankind as she documents faithfully in her diary. We read the importance of diapers and all that comes along with them. We despair at the exactitude of children’s party gift bags after a choice goes wrong for her, and we raise the alarm at how an otherwise ordinary day can turn to near tragedy by a simple raisin on the floor. She documents motherhood in all it’s essence.
Besides the existential dilemma that all of the narrators try to combat, each in their unique way, the narratives also have delightful word play in common through-out the novel. The word play makes it seem as if the author had numerous idiomatic expressions going on in his mind as he wrote each character and I thoroughly enjoyed all of them.
Finally, this could be said to be a book about motherhood of all kinds, three specific examples given to us with narrators in all their elegance and frailties.
At the beginning and end of the book we see sequences of A, C, G, and T together as in DNA. Their speaking not ending, but continuing to convey that which is and will continue to be.