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Much like Cigano – the Gypsy – the narrator – I quit Narcisa: Our Lady of Ashes only to return telling myself this time it will be different. I finally succeeded around page 140 (Chapter 15).

Unlike Cigano I saw no grace or value in following Narcisa’s slow descent in the Crack addiction and madness. I already knew how it was going to end. He (Cigano) told me shortly after the start of the book.

Each time I put the book down -  telling myself I was finally through – like Cigano I would be struck by a flash of poetic/artistic brilliance and it would make the drudgery all worth it.

Always a prodigal child, earlier yet she’d already spent countless hours devouring the works of Nietzsche.

Eating every word like an exotic candy.

Until her immature mind, unable to digest all she’d eaten simply began to warp, melting like a Barbie doll on a bonfire into a whole bizarre formation of crazed pathology.

Cigano is a poet, a diarist, and a straightforward storyteller. But his story goes too long while he seems to go nowhere. Like an addict telling himself that this time he’ll kick the habit for good, Cigano’s recollection of Narcisa’s habits begin to sound pedestrian even though she is moving deeper and deeper into her addiction. Worse than that he teases me with her potential to be interesting but never settles in spending his time describing her drug addled antics.

She has trances where she refers to herself in the third person and speaks about her home planet of Alpha Centauri. He only recalls her beliefs in space aliens and government conspiracies superficially. I would have liked to have learned more of her home world and  of the entities that possess her.

Tonight we were sitting on the sofa. After hours of fucking, resting under the eerie hypnotic shifting light of the glowing TV screen.

She began speaking in this weirdly calm little fairy voice that was definitely not Narcisa.

And she was just talking on, telling me things…

Things about my own past and future that Narcisa could have no way of knowing.

Maybe that old clown Doc is right. She is some sort of paranormal seer or psychic or idiot savant.


I would have liked to have read transcripts of her visions in place of Cigano’s editorializing.

I tell myself that I am putting the book down. I refuse to finish it but even reading the passages quoted in this review I am tempted. I am tempted to go back and revisit Narcisa.

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