For many readers, the New Moon Canon genre means two things: a) an artistic retelling of NM in Bella’s POV so that we can relive her agonizing time in various styles and levels of detail or b) NM in Edward’s POV. (For the daring reader, there may even be option c) NM in Jacob’s POV.) Ithaca is Gorges stands out because Giselle has decided to tell the story of the Cullen’s departure through the eyes of Edward and Carlisle.
“What? Carlisle?” you say? That was my first reaction upon reading this fic. I, personally, can count the amount of Carlisle POVs I’ve read on one hand (or one finger) so I was instantly curious. That and I was told that I absolutely could not live another second of my life until I read Ithaca by fellow fanfic enthusiasts.
Edward's introduction at the beginning instantly draws the reader into the story and sets the time period without long descriptive paragraphs rehashing New Moon’s plot point by point. It's riveting and suspenseful and perfectly sets the mood of futility before changing quickly to Carlisle’s narrative.
Too often Carlisle is a flat, one-dimensional filler figure who has little to no purpose in the story. He is nothing more than the saintly doctor/father figure that makes the occasional appearance, if he appears at all. Giselle’s Carlisle portrays a father whose son is spiraling downward into an abyss of self-loathing and guilt, and finally the fandom is given the insight into this vantage point that has not been dealt with often within the fanfiction world. We have all read Bella and Edward’s painful separation, but this story examines in depth the aftermath of the effects on the rest of the Cullen clan through Carlisle’s eyes.
I love this Carlisle because he is flawed. He's so perfect and unfaltering in most fics that he often gets dismissed as a lackluster, secondary character. It's truly an injustice to such a complicated and complex character as the patriarch of the Cullen clan.
The Million Dollar Question
The relationship between Carlisle and Edward is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting connections in the entire Twiverse. They are the two original members of the Cullen clan and have the most complicated history together. The million dollar question is this – why would Edward play the role of his son for so long and why would he play it with such dedication? This was a point famously brought up by Robert Pattinson when studying Edward for the film, challenging Stephenie Meyer for purpose. In two paragraphs, Giselle-lx tackles this question beautifully.
"Unbeknownst to me, the venom had reached his brain in fewer than twelve hours, and so he had quickly become privy not only to the words I was speaking, but also to the internal monologue that ran parallel to the story I told him. I unintentionally laid myself bare to Edward as he was being changed, revealing to him my deepest emotions: the crushing pain of my loneliness, my terror that he would despise me for his entire existence, my fervent hope that he might someday know me as a companion, perhaps even as family.
By the time he awoke, Edward knew me better than I did. And then he quietly stepped in to fill the void he saw in my still heart."
In one hundred and twenty three words, Edward is given an undeniable connection towards his sire, and the reader can fully grasp the reasoning behind the act.
There is a seamless blend of inner monologue, description of self and surroundings and action that provides a writing style that reads smoothly and creates vivid mental imagery that draws you into the story. There is use of an extensive vocabulary that is befitting of the characters’ histories as well as intelligence and there is a great sense of power to the words in the way they have been crafted.
At times I have felt devastated as I watch Edward suffer, broken and lost within himself as he deals with the turmoil of leaving his true love. I have felt the awkward silences of the other characters - the rage that builds when everything you thought you had suddenly shifts and your entire world is askew. At points my stomach began to churn as I read guilt-ridden monologues and violent reactions. I smiled at easy-going chapters that offered relief from the angst. I’ve felt empowered by demonstrations of unwavering love despite undesirable situations. I’ve felt time passing but feeling stagnate, emphasizing the feel of time hanging and unmoving, crawling by as it does when parted from a loved one.
It is for these reasons and these experiences through reading that I recommend Ithaca is Gorges by Giselle-lx to you. Take some time to find a comfy place, your favorite drink and snack close at hand, and delve into the mind of a complex and yet horridly underused character viewpoint in this fantastic piece of fiction.
Adair stumbed into the Twilight fandom by accident shortly after the release of New Moon (the cover was pretty so she bought it). A few years and several stories later, Adair still flies relatively low on the fandom radar but is best known for heart!fail and her fics Grey and What Impossible Means.