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Shit Is Real

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Shit Is Real back

Aisha Franz


Page 45 Review by Jonathan

Which strikes me as a mildly amusing title for a work that contains some crazy surreal sequences, which I think are meant to be dream sequences. Maybe. Anyway, here's the publisher's statement regarding this affirmation of the scatological:

"After an unexpected breakup, a young woman named Selma experiences a series of reveries and emotional setbacks. Struggling to relate to her friends and accomplish even the simplest tasks like using a modern laundromat, she sinks deeper into depression. Aisha Franz is a master of portraying feminine loneliness and confusion while keeping her characters tough and real. Base human desires and functions alternate with dreamlike symbolism to create a tension-filled tale of the nightmare that is modern life."

Another surprisingly on-the-money summation. Clearly the hype writer with the typewriter was on fire that week...

Selma is indeed having a bad one. Her ex-boyfriend seemed like an idiot, mind, so whilst she's definitely no worse off without him, she is finding single life and the comparative repeated social and career successes of her friends getting thrown in her face difficult to handle. What follows is a mildly surreal set of stumbles through life as she tries to come to terms with the fact she is struggling to cope with pretty much every facet of existence, and frankly, seemingly caught in a downwards spiral.

The one chink of light is the owner of the local pet shop, who seems to have a particular penchant for fish and perhaps more than a passing interest in her. Selma, whilst squatting in the luxury flat of her absent neighbour, attempts to create a new reality for herself and start getting her life back in order.

I found this gentle farce surprisingly moving. Aisha Franz has created a character in Selma whom I instantly attuned to. I was really willing her to get her figurative shit back together and achieve her happy ending. The black and white art style feels suitably wibbly for portraying someone who is such an emotional car crash. If you like your contemporary fiction with a slight twist of odd, this could be for you.