Instagram Review- Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors

‘Cleopatra and Frankenstein’ – UK cover featuring a painting by London-based painter Gill Button

Cleopatra and Frankenstein is the love-story of Frank, a handsome advertising executive and Cleo, a beautiful British artist. They serendipitously meet on New Years Eve, in a first chapter spun with gold, glitter and astonishing repartee. Coco Mellors, the author of the whole shebang, has based her debut on a privileged milieu of characters- most of them are painters, part-time designers and heirs to Eastern European fortunes- connected to each other in sparkling cross-networks, each hankering for some kind of final truth to pin their life to. At the center of Mellor’s universe lie Frank and Cleo, who are entangled with each other, certainly, but are also tangled with others at the hems of their lives. Each time their love encounters jarring weather, they are flung out, over the verge, as it were, to seek others who align, better, with their search for a kind of all-encompassing harmony. Many philosophical questions arise for the reader through the length of the novel, and most of them are to do with love and compatibility. Mellors complicates all of our romantic notions in a gloriously vulnerable approach to the novel, doing so with an eye for aesthetic detail that successfully crystallizes her tome in the mind of the reader,  for the days that follow its shimmering end.

 Selected Quotes from Cleopatra and Frankenstein

“When the darkest part of you meets the darkest part of me, it creates light.”

“People are like this too, you know,” he says eventually. “We break. We put ourselves back together. The cracks are the best part. You don’t have to hide them.”

“Love looks through spectacles that make copper look like gold, poverty like riches, and tears like pearls.”

“He wished he loved her a little more or hated her a little less, something to tip the scale. Instead, he lived in the fraught balance between the two, each increasing the intensity of the other.”

“Her laugh was the sound of a slot-machine jackpot, a soda can cracking open, fairground music in the distance, a Corvette engine coming to life, a thousand hands applauding at once. It was one of those truly beautiful sounds.”

 “Sweetheart, love is humiliating. Hasn’t anyone ever told you that?” “Who would have told me that?” “Do you know the word humiliate comes from the Latin root humus , which means ‘earth’? That’s how love is supposed to feel.” “Like hummus?” “Like earth. It grounds you. All this nonsense about love being a drug, making you feel high, that’s not real. It should hold you like the earth.”

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