After critics raved over Olympia Vernon's first novel, Eden, Vernon returns to the Deep South for the story of Logic, a young girl struggling to free herself from the unspeakable condition she refers to as "the butterflies floating inside" her.
As a child Logic Harris survived a fall from a tree-an accident that precipitated her transformation into a young girl lost in her own world. Logic's mother has secretly wished that Logic had not survived, and she now ignores the increasingly apparent evidence of the aberrant attention Logic's father bestows upon his daughter in her adolescence. As her mother retreats into her work as a neighborhood midwife and Logic's father collapses into paranoia, Logic is left to navigate alone what she scarcely understands. In inspired prose, stunning in its imaginative authority, Logic is a chilling allegory about the dangers of silence and a searing portrait of a girl lost in shame and fear, and a family and community too scarred by their own wounds to save her.
Vernon's follow-up to her acclaimed debut, 2003's Eden, is a dark and harrowing portrait of catastrophically scarred people in rural Valsin County, Miss. The sad story of Logic Harris, named after a word her mother saw in a magazine and pregnant by 13, will undoubtedly remind many readers of early Toni Morrison, particularly The Bluest Eye. Nearly killed as a child when she fell out of a tree, Logic is now "touched" in every sense of the word: she " even talk in a straight line," and her father sexually abuses and impregnates her. But somehow, as Logic watches her neighbor's whoring and feels the growing "butterflies in her stomach," she retains an angelic innocence. All but abandoned by a used-up mother, who suffers "the drought of her wilted body" and secretly wishes her daughter dead, and an angry father teetering on the verge of insanity, Logic struggles to navigate the secrets and silences that have poisoned the adult world around her. Although Logic's hallucinogenic, disjointed outlook and language can be utterly incomprehensible at times, Vernon's alchemical imagination transforms passages that make no sense on their own ("a long death breathes nakedly behind the blood where red is turning sharp") into a whole as startlingly original, disconcerting and haunting as a fever dream.