Girling by C. Kubasta. Brain Mill Press, 2017.
Review by Emily May
C. Kubasta’s Girling dissects the ever-grueling female journey in a whirlwind of absolute truth. Sparing no rose-colored facade, readers plummet into the abrasive reality of two young girls as they navigate into adulthood. Girling highlights the importance of our increasingly interconnected social ties and the many ways young girls are forged into the women they become. A focal, striking theme presented to the audience is one of love and how it applies to various types of relationships. Yet, one cannot forget the overarching sense of power that comes with self-awareness as it is exhibited in this novel.
“Who ordered the harvest of your heart? Who broke the worst curse and taught you that false death—the utterly passive body—was the way to win a prince? Who directed you to trim your own heel, its fat curve of flesh, and proffered the blade, handle-first, as an offer of kindness?”
Kubasta illustrates the sheer complexity of the often-forgotten intricacies of life using both fairytale-like motifs and unconventional metaphors to drive her point further. Should a reader fall to anything less than attentive they might miss the best lines in the novel, yet there are obvious gems sitting ripe and ready at the wait.
“Drop a snake into this island ecosystem. The stowaway of wheel well, curved around landing gear. But imagine before that: the exotic plumage, the exquisite adaptations. If no one teaches you what beauty should be, you know it yourself. If no one shows you what pleasure is, you find it yourself.”
In a struggle to formulate the words to properly applaud Kubasta for this masterpiece, one might even go as far as to quote F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, “I was within and without, thoroughly enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life,” when attempting to analyze Girling in its entirety. From “The Calico Rule” to “A Love Letter,” Kubasta hangs an unforgiving micro-lens over what it means to be a female in this world with passages that resonate long after the last page is turned.