Sarah Crossan (2012) The Weight of Water.
Posted by celticman on Sat, 30 Nov 2013
First things first this has the look and feel of a poetry book. By that I mean it does that old enjambment trick lines skittering across the page and jutting out at unnatural angles. Has it got a natural metre, de Dum, de Dum, de Dum? I don’t really know. My mind lacks that weighty balance. I treat it with discourtesy like a comic book without pictures I can snaffle down in one go. ‘Floating’, for example, begins, ‘Willian is at the swimming pool/He is standing far away from me/In the shallow end,/Ripples sloshing his side’. William is Kasienky, the narrator's, first boyfriend, first infatuation and the first boy to kiss her. But Kasineky is no ordinary girl. She is a Polish emigrant. Her Mama has left Gdansk Glowny to find Tata and every night they pound pavement and Kasinesky is pushed forward, a human English dictionary to ask the question of where her dad might be. At school she is bullied by Claire, ‘directing the dance’ the leader of a clique she might want to join, but the cost may be too weighty. At home, a studio flat, life is made bearable by the friendship of a black doctor that lives below them and, as a fellow emigrant, is being allowed to work as a cleaner in the local hospital. She finds Tata, and his girlfriend and her half sister, all of whom she likes. But she cannot tell Mama because she does not know how to inflict that kind of misery. There’s rarely a happy ending, just as there’s always rhyme without reason. I’ll let you find that out for yourself.