Sunday, May 20, 2012


"Here above the ground / Ferris wheels go round / And the dance of clowns / A carnival - this town / Only a playground / Stay young, stay up above / Before it takes you down / Underground" - "Orpheus" by Paulo, Ecstasia (p. 1)

Francesca Lia Block has to be one of my all-time favorite writers. Her vivid imagination, dark views, and need to challange social standards keeps me coming back to her books for more. While her books tend to be very dark with little fireworks of love and understanding among the characters, I believe that if everyone were to give her a chance, they would find themselves just as drawn to her words as I am.

Ecstasia is set in a place where the world above is a constant carnival ride, the young citisizens contantly enduling in life's pleasures and never having to think of consequences nor the future. Until they begin to show signs of aging at which time they feel disgraced by their old appearance in a world of youthful beauty and so they take to the Underground where they fade away to ash. The book follows the band Ecstasia consisting of Paulo, Dionisio, Calliope, and Rafe. Rafe discovers a girl he has fallen for but before they can have much time together she begins to grow sick, meaning she must go Underground. Her illness and all the events that take place prior to it effect not only Rafe, as he believes, but his friends and sister, leading them all into darker places than they had intended on going for quiet a while.

Block's work has always had the effect of making the reader take a closer look at themselves and the society in which they live. What is up with our obsession with youth and beauty? But people keep coming back for more, as shown by the fact that when this book, written 1993,  went out of print Block kept recieving requests for it and had to have it republished. Her work is special and addicting.

I of course recommend everyone give her a chance, if not through this book, than through one of her other works. Trust me, you will make it to this one eventually.

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