‘Intelligence turns me on’
A writer writing about the emotional and mental complexities of being a writer — “Lucinella” by Lore Segal is within itself a collection of witticism and truth, thrown against the stark contrast between Lucinella’s routine occurrences and the random zig-zags of her imagination.
Lucinella describes what she does, who she meets and the developments of her latest writing projects, yet it’s often unclear if her words are pertaining to truth or reality.
It can be genuinely difficult to decipher whether we’re crawling into the cluttered cupboard of her imagination or if she’s describing the real world. And this confusion — this near-inability to locate the line between fact and fiction is what makes this novella so magical.
Throughout the book, Segal seems to be telling us to find our own way through Lucinella’s experienecs. And all at once, Segal pushes us off the diving board, head-first into the New York literary scene of the 60s. There’s no preparation for what Lucinella’s mind can unleash.
Lucinella finds hope in keeping her set of 12 yellow pencils sharpened to equal lengths, purity in having a stark white kitchen with bare, unfinished floors, and sees the “ability to suspend a human gesture with accuracy” as an act of love.
I love this book because it’s witty and fresh, but at some parts it begins to creep me out because I see so much of myself in Lucinella. The first time I read this short book, I was quite bothered by how Segal’s Lucinella appeared to be my twin – my unknown twin that lived decades before me.
This book is a must-read for any aspiring writer, novelist, or poet but no matter what your future, you should pick it up anyway. I’ve always wanted another sister and now that I’ve met Lucinella, I have one.
Chloe Rambo can be reached at email@example.com