The War is Language is a collection of short pieces, ranging from absurd, fictional vignettes to stories from the author's own life. There are thematic elements tying individual sections together, though the work as a whole is designed to make one question the bandwagon approach to rebellion and the way that we see the status quo.
The author's writing style varies throughout the work, depending on the intended effect. For instance, the "letters to a fake advice columnist" section at the end adopts a tongue-in-cheek sort of sarcastic humor, while others utilize a stream of consciousness approach. Her arsenal of words is substantial, and she has the same command of phonics that makes EE Cummings poems so effective. Unfortunately, however, the combination of focused sound and uncensored thought often made the text difficult to follow. Some sections needed to be read two or three times, and I was frequently forced to concede defeat.
Perhaps part of the problem is that the works tend to rail against things without necessarily substantiating the argument. The thoughts seemed scattered, jumping from one to the next, instead of tackling one specific topic in depth. At the risk of sounding plebeian, my reaction to many sections was "I just don't get it." The text could also stand another round or two of editing, as absent commas, mixed homophones, and misplaced apostrophes compounded the confusion.
In the end, the sections that I enjoyed most thoroughly were the short scenes. They effectively communicated an emotion, or a thought, without making me feel as if I were being spoon-fed propaganda. I was disappointed when the ending of one attempted to ascribe some deeper meaning to the scene; it was an intellectual stretch and diminished whatever feelings the vignette had evoked. Some readers might not mind being preached to. Personally, I hate being told what to think.
The War Is Language is certainly an ambitious endeavor. It needs more cohesion, however, to bring it all together, and deeper exploration of fewer themes. Note: subjects of rape and death are addressed.
(Review copy provided by the author)