Thursday, July 3, 2008

Intertropical Convergence Zone

Chiaroscuro's issue 37 contains Nadia Bulkin's Intertropical Convergence Zone. ICZ puts us in the position of the assistant to the General who takes over a Pacific Rim country. The narrator travels into familiary literary territory--from seeing the General as the only hope, to seeing the General as only being somewhat better than the opposition.

But the story is really about how the assistant begins as a believer and is sucked into grey areas until he has fully crossed into the black. It is about losing one's soul in a cause that seemed good at the time. And, in fact, though the end result for the general population may still be preferable, the individual sacrifice (in the most literal sense) required is much too great.

**The Spoiler at the bottom goes here***

ICZ is an excellent journey into a living hell, by one who had only the best intentions.

My favorite parts of the story were the images of innocence and corruption. Under the guidance of a shaman-type the general eats a bullet that killed a powerful enemy. He eats a powerful talisman that the assistant killed an innocent person to obtain--in the heat of combat. He eats the liver of an animal that the assistant coldly obtained by murdering a helpless innocent. Finally, he eats the assistant's daughter's heart.

When the general begins to draw pictures for the narrator that the daughter previously drew, the narrator's sense of damnation is palpable.

1 comment:

Brett Alexander Savory said...

Again, thanks for the kind words about Nadia's tale. It's certainly one of my favourites. Totally blew me away.