Posted on the All Things Lesbian forum by FreeFall Technodyke – courtesy transcript

ATL Admin, hi

I’ve been watching this forum for a couple of weeks already and it looks like all of C.C. Saint-Clair’s ATL readers have said their peace.

All except me.  Going by dates, it looks like you posted the 1st comment on Saint-clair. What a good idea, as this section of the forum is by far one of the most solid in terms of maturity and relevance of posts.

My favourite moment in Silent Goodbyes is one of the boat scenes.

The moon is low on its axis, the night is dark. No other boats are anchored nearby and Emilie imagines how she would make love to Solange if she walked up to her, where she is, lost in her own thought at the bow.

But I’ve been toying with a bit of a review that I thought I might just post somewhere, but that was last year – and I still haven’t posted it anywhere and admittedly, I borrowed a couple of lines from other stuff that people have already written about her, but most of it is mine.

Far From Maddy is C.C. Saint-Clair’s sixth novel and, in this novel as in all others, the sensuality of her writing captures both the sensual romanticism and the socio-political realism that underpin all her storylines –

It’s all about the choices we make, as women of all ages, the risks we take, the emotional baggage we drag around, and whatever (un)resolved personal issues we have – in Saint-Clair’s plots, it all bubbles up to the surface.

On the eve of twenty-two-year-old Jo’s intended move in with her lover, Maddy, in urban, working-class Australia, Jo simply vanishes.

So begins the strange tale of her self-determined disappearance and Maddy’s desperate search to find her.

In her hand, Maddy still held the bracelet found there amongst Jo’s belongings. She straightened her shoulders to allow more air to fill her lungs. The leather knot that she had tied on the underside of Jo’s wrist that night, some three months earlier, was still intact, tight and secure, but one of its ends was severed from the braid. Maddy brought the band to her lips.

The sweaty saltiness of it against her nose, the tiny patch of salty leather under the tip of her tongue hit her like a door in the middle of a sleepwalker’s path. Jo’s face, bigger than life, exploded behind her eyes. Jo, with her grunge hair cut that spilled, shiny and black over her pale forehead, over her grey eyes.

Jo’s aquiline nose. Jo’s smile that creased the corners of her mouth instead of turning them upwards. Every detail was there, too large, too alive, far too unreal for Maddy to accommodate inside her heart.

Dazed but with the automated motions of the undead, Maddy had eventually driven back towards Brisbane.

The focus of Far From Maddy is the impact on a young girl’s psyche of emotional abuse at the hand of a loving but unhinged mother who resorts to self-administered euthanasia. And that’s combined with the current urban issue of young people who prefer to live rough in the streets rather than struggle inside dysfunctional families and pretend and compromise just for the sake of a bed and 4 walls around them when they’re asleep.

Young people, some enough to still be kids, others barely out of their teens, like Jo, choose homelessness as a life option and Saint-Clair is alerting us to the reality that their choice isn’t really a choice at all. Their decision to live in the streets, parks and bus shelters stems from quiet desperation. Too many of our disenfranchised youth have run out of choices. And in Far From Maddy, it’s a young dyke’s life that’s at risk.

Saint-Clair’s unique writing style – layered sensuality blended with gritty realism, vividly describes the complex, emotional and psychological landscape that lurks just below the surface, and yet, Saint-Clair’s novels still fall in the category of sensual lesbian romance novels.

The only “problem” with Far From Maddy, if you’re a fan of Saint-Clair’s makes-you-wet-on impact sexy scenes, is that there aren’t as many of her trademark moments of hot electric lust, as in all her other novels. One reason, I guess, is that Jo, Maddy’s lover, is AWOL for most of the novel. So this explains that though Christen would’ve certainly welcome more, much more of Maddy’s time and touch.

There’s a lot to browse on C.C. Saint-Clair’s website, including free downloads of a couple of her novels.

That’s if you manage to get past the striking hot pink torso on her homepage. Very sensual, barely wrapped in sheer shades of electric lavender and pink.

Nice sharing with you, Admin, and cheers to you all,

FreeFall