The Primary Colors (h2so4 3)
by Alexander Theroux
[Henry Holt]

The Primary Colors by A. Theroux is about synaesthesia.

Synaesthesia is a new word for me. I first encountered the word sometime after a few drinks and the passing of midnight. No one adequately explained its meaning to me, but I have been winging it about haphazardly ever since.

I am glad I read The Primary Colors; it gives me a reason to use the word synaesthesia without risking impropriety, inaccuracy or the indolent raised eye-brow of the innocent.

Halfway through the second essay, "Yellow," I laughed out loud and kissed a potato. Each of the three essays are primarily a list of things that are blue, yellow, or red, respectively. A catalogue of color. A tour-de-force of phenomenological being. No plot, no point, and seemingly, no distinct poetry. By describing color, Theroux describes experience, inaccuracy, impression and the sensory overload that defies categorization and defines life. Do I know X to be blue or do I know it to be salty? The Primary Colors is a neat thorn in the head of epistemology.

When you read this book you feel like a dog, sticking its head out of the window in a pick-up truck barreling across a lush, cow-pie laden landscape. This book makes me want to learn Braille or smear my body with apple chutney. This book makes me want to be a shiny oboe or a smooth pine floorboard. This book makes me want to lick a cloud.

Chick Maxx

The Primary Colors (h2so4 3)
by Alexander Theroux
[Henry Holt]

Chick got this book first. It was sent to us both as a gift by a friend in New York, but she got hers via Federal Express because it was her birthday, while mine came parcel post about a month later. So she read it and reviewed it, though she said it was destined to be reviewed by me. I still haven't read it, because I'm in the middle of 10–15 other books.

But what Chick didn't reveal to you in her review is the absolute beauty of the book. O! its shape, its size, its FORM! Perfect in every way. I tremble with fear lest its contents disappoint after the outward form has taunted me with such comely pulchritude.

The curly font chosen for the page numbering, placed upper center of each page instead of thrown carelessly to the bottom, is ideal. Not for every book, mind you, but ideal here. Little tease.

The size is roughly octavo, as they would have said in Victorian times, when the sheets of paper used to print books were of the same size, and book size was determined by how many times a sheet was folded. Octavo was composed of sheets folded four times to produce eight leaves or 16 pages, and ended up being approximately 6" x 9" in size (as opposed to Quarto, which was folded twice to form four leaves or 8 pages, and thus was a larger book. Now solve the problem to find out the size of the original sheet!). The Brontes always preferred Octavo. What a respectable, distinguished, yet imminently graspable, touchable, caressable little package!

I don't know if the book's got any brains, but she sure is a looker!

Pliny