The Albino Album

Chavisa Woods. Seven Stories, $19.95 (553p) ISBN 978-1-60980-476-3
Woods’s picaresque novel-cum-LP follows Mya, the nickname of a girl with an unpronounceable name, as she romps across the landscape of sideshow America. Orphaned after accidentally feeding her mother to an albino tiger, Mya leaves on horseback to find shelter and eventually takes up with a counter-culture band of squatters who quote the French feminist cultural theorist Luce Irigaray and juggle at Bat-Mitzvahs. When Mya’s lover Jules enmeshes her in a Weather Underground-inspired plot to blow up a Monsanto plant, Mya brings the book’s Side A to a fiery conclusion. On Side B, the needle skips. Along with several digressions where the protagonist is nowhere to be found, Mya eventually flees to the house of a former flame before chasing her horse down to New Orleans. There, she bonds with an intersex West African named Idrissa who takes over the narration, giving a welcome new perspective on the bemusing Mya. Focus returns to Mya for the final chapters, where she escapes to The Fire House in New York, a peculiar church led by an eerily secretive preacher. While Woods creates a sympathetic character in the wise yet feral Mya, loose ends and an unsatisfying conclusion make this more of a mix-tape than an album. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/2013
Release date: 03/19/2013
Open Ebook - 319 pages - 978-1-60980-477-0
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