Review:  Let The Dark Flower Blossom by Norah Labiner

28 May 2014 by 2 Comments

let the dark flower blossom - norah labiner

Book:  Let The Dark Flower Blossom by  Norah Labiner

Recommended if you Like: to be completely bewildered, beguiled, and bewitched, due to/in spite of its format maybe tricking you into thinking you’re high.

Rating: 4 out of 5 broken storytelling rules

First Line: “He only said her name to me once.”

Published:  2013 by Coffee House Press, 349 pages

A review copy was provided by Coffee House Press.

This is how the gods will make you mad.
They will make you doubt yourself.
They will make you doubt your own reliability.


you guys, this book is a headfuck.  and i mean that in the most complimentary of ways, but whoa.  WHOA, y’all.

this book throws you right into the clusterfuck.  i’m pretty sure i spent the first fifty pages just trying to figure out what the hell was going on!  but slowly, things start to adhere…

For what is a story?  A story is a map to the underworld and how you follow that map is, of course, entirely up to you.

honestly, i thought i wasn’t going to like this book at all, before i got into the thick of it.  its style is not something i generally like.  i like straightforward stories and sentences.  i like to have my narrators neatly separated, if there’s going to be more than one or two of them.  this book breaks all my personal rules about what i want in a story.  but it does it SO WELL.

To love a thing you must hate it first.  You must come around to the worst of it.

what is it about, you say?  it’s “about” lovers, siblings, friendships, murder, art, writers and the art of writing, grief/loss/death, the overwhelming sensuality of food and drink and life – but really?  it’s not about these things.

this book is made OF these things.

Labiner spends words like pennies – maybe cheap singly, but the accumulation results in massive wealth.  it’s like diving into the most sumptuous, sensuous dinner, and drowning in it.  She uses repetition in an incredibly effective way, and i noticed a ton of writerly craft, but halfway through i stopped seeing any of it, and started seeing these GOLDEN PHRASES.

She said that it didn’t matter to her who liked the book or who didn’t.  One finds what one finds in a book.  Wasn’t that the very point of reading a book?

this may be one of the most compulsively quotable things i’ve seen in a loooong time.  i typed out over a dozen things – i won’t share them all, but i can’t HELP giving you a few gems.

A story is a labyrinth, and all paths lead to the monster.  Who is the monster?  Is it the storyteller?  A good storyteller must be a monster.

i’ll warn you, it’s dark.  it pulls no punches.  it has a ton of characters who are occasionally hard to separate.  it’s like a swirling maelstrom of words that will eat your evening, and you will LOVE IT for doing so.

do yourself a favor, and give it a solid 100 page chance – even if you don’t think it’s your cup of tea.  i DON’T think you’ll regret it.  it has its own pulsing, writhing heart – and i want you to find it.

At the heart of all things is a knife.


when i'm not busy ruling Hell, i read all the things. if i'm not reading, i'm writing, collaging, painting, making music, learning how to be in the circus, and/or chasing my cats.

2 thoughts on “Review:  Let The Dark Flower Blossom by Norah Labiner

Talk to us!

Get Us In Your Inbox

Hot Discussions

%d bloggers like this: