Meredith Lorimar’s ‘Mirror Face’ is the record of a young woman’s thoughts and feelings, occurring largely over the course of a single evening.
Ursula Baker is an actress with neurotic tendencies. Her closest friends are a gay man who is dying of AIDS and a delusional, drug-abusing Lady Gaga wannabe. Most of the novel is taken up with Ursula’s reflections on her life and the sequence of events and relationships that has brought her to her present situation.
Of itself, this would not be sufficient to hold a reader’s interest over the course of a novel. However, Ms Lorimar artfully draws the reader into the claustrophobic, obsessional mind of her protagonist. The writing is cultured, the tone nihilistic. Ursula Baker observes her own ‘mirror face’ from a dispassionate viewpoint. At times I was strongly reminded of Meursault, Camus’ central character in ‘L’Etranger’. Like him, Ursula examines the life around her and acts as a commentator on it, yet she remains emotionally disengaged. What emotions she has are fleeting and inconsequential. Hers is essentially a life of intellect, not of emotion and she remains ultimately alienated from herself, an existential creature.
‘Mirror Face’ is an unusual novel that requires perseverance; but the writing is imaginative, cleverly structured and with some memorable turns of phrase. For those readers that like their books to have lots of ‘action’ it will likely not be to their taste, but for my part I found it a compelling exercise in introspection. The author presents a fascinating study of a mind grasping for meaning yet finding only paradox and absurdity.
Ms Lorimar has an interesting and singular voice. I look forward to more of it.