Christine Runyon Reviews Maxine

5.0 out of 5 stars Maxine is Kali: destroyer and creator of worlds

I read Maxine slowly because I like to sit and dream with characters a while. I find the author’s language, dialogue, and plot effective and compelling. I am a poet and I doff my poet hat to Remick. That’s rare and Remick is a rara avis.
His descriptive powers are vast. When Maxine finds her sister in the accurately described strip joint, we look, we see, we hear, we taste and smell the details. I am a writer and every skill I tried to impart to students and writers is right here.
Some people have native talent. Remick deserves recognition for his talent and skill. He creates an equally compassionate world for females as well as males. That world is balanced, alive, intricate.
And then there’s the memory child, holding up the center.
As a woman, I get Maxine. Women have paid for all they must take. For example, Maxine, as the narrator sees her in the bathroom mirror, is Kali the destroyer and the creator of worlds. With four arms she holds her Mother, Ted, Emily, and Charlie. Her archetypal presence is palpable here.
Remick utilizes some scorching language and images. I’ll never see the madonna on the rocks without a fifth and a glass of Ice. Sometimes authors don’t know the electricity coursing through their own creations.
As I drew near to the ending, I saw an image that, for me, defined Maxine the character. She is standing in a doorway as if the architect had planned the building just to frame her. It is a painting in words.
This is a big story of the big HERo. And I spell it that way because this is Maxine’s story as she overcomes obstacles to find her way to truth. Her’s is every woman’s story because in some degree Maxine is all of us—a woman carrying forward the pain and anguish of all women who have been in a battering domestic relationship. Maxine knows that there is going to be the next man, and the next and the next until she acts to free herself. And this she does. Does she ever.
Maxine is a story of a journey that covers almost no geographic territory. Rather it is a geography of pain that keeps the characters fixed until they discover the deeper meaning of the four letter L Word.
Maxine is a story of fire and water. Death comes in fire and it comes in water. It is a story of purification and in the end, fire cleanses as the obstacles all burn.
Remick, as novelist, has all the right instincts, artistically, and as it turns out, politically as well. I admire writers who, in the toughest of times—this novel was written at the height of the current plague—see the political reality and still write their way through it.
Remick is a formidable artist writing in a trying age and the characters receive all his love, care and attention. Maxine is a delicious read.