Teaser Tuesday: “Speak Easy”

Look at this, two Teaser Tuesdays back-to-back! Must be because I had a busy week and didn’t have time to take notes on amusing things my wife said about Killing Eve … But anyway, this time, I was reading Speak Easy, by the heavily-overrepresented-in-Teaser-Tuesdays-on-this-blog Catherynne M. Valente:

It’s an emotional support pelican.

Speak Easy is set in and follows the residents of the hotel Artemisia, which is, apparently, one big saloon. The events take place in a fantastical version of the 1920s, more or less, when Prohibition is in effect (hence the title), but that doesn’t stop the liquor from flowing. The main character, insofar as a main character can be established, is one Zelda Fair, an aspiring dancer/actress/writer (whichever comes first) whose background is a little more upper-class than she lets on.

Lucky Zelda’s Daddy was a judge. A regular Rhadamanthus of the great American Delta. And her mother was Minerva Fair, who wanted to be an actress but the world said nope, be a lady instead, and she said no thank you please, and there ain’t nothing like a goddess disappointed to teach a girl how to wait and how to choose.

Catherynne M. Valente, Speak Easy

Yeah, Minerva Fair, I know how you feel. Well, I mean, not about the “be a lady instead” part, but about the “the world said nope” part …

One interesting thing about this book is that I’m nearly a quarter of the way through and so far there has been nary a lick of dialogue, which kind of reminds me of some actual 1920s fiction (as opposed to this simulated 1920s fiction) I’ve read; in particular, a lot of H.P. Lovecraft stories have minimal dialogue. But this isn’t a story, it’s an entire novella, so I imagine that at some point somebody is going to have to say something. Otherwise I’ll start to imagine they’re all mimes*.

Now normally in a Teaser Tuesday this would be where I insert an excerpt from the page I’m working on in my current book; but since I’m still in the process of preparing an outline for Blue Roses, I don’t really have a current page. Well, I mean, I do, but it’s from before I decided to do an outline, so it doesn’t really count. Stay tuned, though, and I should have more pages eventually. In the meantime, please enjoy these vouchers for future Blue Roses excerpts!

* Literally like two or three pages after this, I finally got to some dialog between Zelda and her roomies.

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