I got the chance to meet Jasmine Warga at NoVaTeen Book Fest ’15 and get my book signed — I had wanted to read this novel since people first started showing off ARCs, but waited on purchasing it until I was actually at the event. This does mean I went into the novel with some understanding as to the back-history of the story and Ms. Warga’s writing process. This, however, did not in any way affect my opinion of this novel.
This novel had me at its first paragraph:
“Music, especially classical music, especially Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor, has kinetic energy. If you listen hard enough, you can hear the violin’s bow trembling above the strings, ready to ignite the notes. To set them in motion. And once the notes are in the air, they collide against one another. They spark. They burst.”
It’s rare that something grips me so quickly, but Aysel’s introduction via those six sentences spoke to me — they called to me and sucked me in. And they never let me go, even during the novel’s slower parts. What Ms. Warga is able to conjur with her descriptions of Aysel’s “sadness”, as she calls — depression, as I do — was so beautifully written, so unromantic, and at times too real and too close for me. I was sitting in the same room as two members of my family and had to fight not to openly cry. But believe you me, I wanted to. Anyone, ANYONE who has been depressed knows what Ms. Warga was describing through Aysel — knows exactly what it feels like: that aching, bloody scab at the centre of one’s chest.
That’s the beauty of literature: it is a safe environment where we can feel. Where we can experience all the emotion’s of the human condition, of our own condition, in a way that is not destructive and sometimes, just sometimes, can lead us on our own path of healing.
This book was beautiful. It was honest and bloody and raw. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but that’s more than okay with me.