Uptown finds The Girls Who Saw Everything better than Oprah's Book Club

By Quentin Mills-Fenn
Uptown
September 27, 2007

Oprah this ain't

In this book club, members not only discuss their books - they live them

Quentin Mills-Fenn

In The Girls Who Saw Everything, by writer/actor Sean Dixon, an all-women book club ends up in a war zone.

You see, the girls not only discuss their books, they like to act them out. They want to live great books; a replication from In the Skin of the Lion, for example, results in the near-hanging of one of the members. Things get even bigger, globally and cosmically, when they take on an old tale called He Who Saw Everything, aka The Epic of Gilgamesh.

This Babylonian text tells the story of a king named Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu, a half-wild shepherd. After Enkidu's death, Gilgamesh is inconsolable and undertakes a quest for immortality.

The Lacuna Cabal Montreal Young Women's Book Club takes on the epic after it's suggested by one their members, Runner Coghill. Runner has her own personal reasons for suggesting the title - she's mourning the death of her twin sister. Males aren't allowed in the club, so, in order to re-enact the Gilgamesh saga, the club enlists a lovelorn young man named Dumuzi.

With Du taking the role of Gilgamesh, it falls upon Du's best friend Coby, a socially inept techno-geek, to play Enkidu, albeit unwittingly.

Dixon has created a very clever, very shrewd retelling of the original epic in this novel, and ancient and modern correlations abound, such as Dumuzi's relationship with his girlfriend.

Some of the allusions are rather obscure. But there's certainly nothing wrong with a book that demands a little work of its readers. The result is a book both mysterious and charming, cryptic and enjoyable. A very smart and quirky read.

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