Kristina Marie Darling’s Fortress is published by Sundress Publications and showcases the dance of doomed domestic bliss from the perspective of the wife. The main character alludes to the field of dead poppies that welcomes her to her new home. The husband does nothing to coax them to life and creates gardens elsewhere only to fail. The possible greenery is a metaphor for the relationship when the husband disappears after the poppies catch fire and spread disaster to the homestead. The wife is left to determine what to do about the outcome on her own, just as many relationships leave at least one person wondering what happened and what to do next. Below I am happy to share some examples:
Another night. The same lifeless corsage. I wondered if the landscape, rather than affection for on another, had been the source of our euphoria.
Here, the wife tries to understand what brought their marriage happiness. Dead flowers permeate the landscape of this collection and are romanticized as a display of love and affection for the characters.
I could not endure the boxed geraniums beneath every window, their long stems like dried insects under glass. It was then that I began to examine the iron gates and coaxed the locks with such care, as though they were hothouse flowers or small children.
What caught my eye was the line “their long stems like dried insects” because I am fascinated by insects. It is easy to picture the hollow, fragile stems driving the wife to escape. The gates surrounding the house have kept her in and now she is trying to escape as carefully as she can, not just from the landscape but from her marriage.
What is there left to say? When we married, I became his wife. I can no longer remember what I looked like before that veil descended, or the vow exchanged between us.
The lines above ultimately sum up my worst fears. I have witnessed this myself watching other couples: when they come together, they lose their individuality completely and it is terrifying. The wife above became “wife” and forgot everything about herself in the process. Truly terrifying to me.
Kristina Marie Darling uses her skill of erasures and of footnotes to create a world in which a couple’s marriage dissipates over time in a landscape that echoes their lives. If you enjoyed this review, you may purchase a copy of Kristina Marie Darling’s Fortress for $12.00 at:
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