LGBT Friday Review: Portrait of a Crossroads by Kelly Rand
Expected Publication May 20th 2013 by Riptide Publishing
ARC provided by the publisher
After her father’s suicide Annette doesn’t know what to do with herself. She lives with her two brothers in a house next to a crossroads. Some day she becomes fascinated with her tattooed neighbour Sadie.
I think the message of Portrait of a Crossroads is good. You should follow your dreams and your own path, whatever that may be. But that’s all what this novella seems to be – the sum of its message.
Ms Rand is good at describing things. I loved the setting, the way the entire world seems to be the sound of cars and planes and the six or so houses next to the crossroads. This strength turns into a flaw once the story starts moving. There continue to be descriptions, but I missed emotion or a driving force. There is barely any introspection, which is weird if the story is about a girl making a decision.
Portrait of a Crossroads mainly follows Annette’s and Sadie’s interactions or lack thereof. There is often a mention of a “comfortable silence”, but as a reader I didn’t find all the silences comforting at all. It didn’t get much better when they started speaking though. The dialogue was stocky and repetitive. A quote (from an ARC – it might still change):
“I think I want to go to Brock University,” Annette said. “For concurrent education. I can be a teacher and it’s… not too far.” She rested her head on the back of the seat and glanced sideways at her.
“Good,” Sadie said. “You should.” She turned on the radio at a low volume and slipped her sunglasses into place again. “And you’re right. It’s not far.”
There is about.. one and a half erotic scene in the story. I’m glad Ms Rand stayed away from overly poetic language – they’re pretty straightforward without being too graphic.
Recommended only for those enjoying morals in their stories or people that have recently lost someone and need something to get their spirits up. If you read for language itself, I’d pass Portrait of a Crossroads by.
Since finding her father’s body at the bottom of the basement stairs, Annette’s been drifting through her days, watching cars pass down the rural Ontario crossroads beside her house. Her brothers have no great ambitions, but Annette remembers a time when she did. She just can’t remember what they are.
Then she meets her neighbour, Sadie, a tattooed, world-weary, newly single portrait artist. Something about Sadie awakens something in Annette—the essence she captures in her subjects, perhaps, or the way the old familiar crossroads seem so fresh and promising from the view out Sadie’s window.
Annette begins to help Sadie, cleaning brushes and filing invoices between long lazy afternoons of conversations and shared silences. Soon, though, Annette wants more from her enigmatic neighbor, and their slowly heating friendship melts into passionate nights. Somewhere along the way, Annette discovers that her lover has illuminated for her, as with the people Sadie paints, not just her essence but her own endless worlds of possibilities.