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oursin

My impression in A2A was that Kay was writing some kind of work of history (?and that there was some professional need bound up with it - ? tenure), not a novel? That going back and reinterpreting thing would fit perfectly well in the context.

I adore the idea of the Proust RPG!

jo

I come back to the idea that I actually don't have to be friends with my kids. It's a very similar relationship, but not friendship, because being friends would mean some kind of seeing each other's strengths and weaknesses without owing each other. Well that's not it, exactly, but I've been thinking about it a lot and realizing that I owe my kids mostly being myself, even if that means being crusty sometimes and quiet for long periods of time, because that's who I am.

badgerbag

Yes - you are right, I think it was a history book, which makes way more sense than a novel - but the idea is still there - it's on some level "what the book is about."

""On that Tuesday afternoon in February, the day when everything changed, she was writing the conclusion. She had been working since nine and had skipped lunch because in the process of summing up she had suddenly undersood an important subtext she had not consciously grasped while writing the book's main chapters; consequently, she had lost all track of time."

During the whole rest of the book her "process" is looking back at her personal history and understanding its subtexts, reinterpreting --- the reader has to reinterpret Kay's history as well to understand what's happening. The leap between doing that and applying that stance to one's own life and to history in general - to feminist history - is not that big a leap. "What happened between her and Sedgewick" - for example - starts out in chapter one as a fairly innocuous, neutral sounding memory of how "the two of them hadn't parted on the best of terms" because their relationship had been "mutually destructive."

It also occurred to me that the "death" images - dead machines, dead lights, etc. are tied in with the idea of culture & history as necrophilia (Mary Daly? Dworkin? I think both.) Chapter one section one's threads are "the death of history", "loss of power" "absence of light", things being "dark". Kay at one point in the dark, jostled in a crowd, mutters under her breath, "What is the fucking problem?" Good question! What is the fucking problem! But at that point she doesn't even realize there is a real problem. I thought it was hilarious and cool that the first thing it occurs to her to do is to go to the University Bookstore because it's raining a little and she needs an umbrella. This is what you get anywhere in the book that you do a close reading. the one sentence about the umbrella and the bookstore that's quite minor but then - I thought - wow, she has a problem, only vaguely defined, and of course the first thing she'd do is to go to the University Bookstore for protection from the problem. That's who she is... firmly entrenched in academia and academic solutions.

These moments are almost never lyrical and poetic and landscape based, which I think throws off people's reading-interpretation radar. Like - it is very easy to point out to readers that in some chinese socialist realist novel, it's ponderously meaningful that the opening paragraph is about dawn and the east being red, or something, and that every time there is a giant lyrical landscape description of dawn -- well, alert your double-triple-awareness-of-meaning sensorium. Just as in 20th cent. U.S. fiction at least, you always get that "road" or "river" right away.

Prentiss Riddle

I haven't gotten my hands on C's book yet, but the Amazon summary (to which I would link but I can never remember what information you want to keep out of sight from G00gl3 so I won't) makes me think of that other famous literary figure who takes steps so he won't grow up in the expected way, Oskar Matzerath of "The Tin Drum".

Now I have another reason to track it down, to figure out whether there's a connection.

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