The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides. I liked this one. Quite a debut. Themes include boys obsessing over girls on their way to womanhood, the fascination with death, the penumbra of loss that affects a community, etc. I like the tie-in with the dying elms, leaving mute, immovable stumps in the yards. And while I often cringe at moments when films use popular song, I thought the inclusions of Heart’s Magic Man and Crazy On You were inspired. If there’s any complaint, some parts were too overt. You don’t need a narrator intoning, “And so we started to learn about their lives, coming to hold collective memories of times we hadn’t experienced” when that’s clearly suggested on the screen. Small quibble though. Worth watching. I wonder how the book compares.

He chose a way of death guaranteed to bring down a hailstorm of prying analytical chatter far in excess of anything he had experienced while he was alive. This is the paradoxical allure of suicide: to leave the chattering world behind and yet to stage-manage the exit so that one is talked about in the right way.

Alex Ross on Kurt Cobain. From the obituary that first appeared with slightly different wording in the New Yorker. [$]