The Ravishing of Lol Stein

ISBN: 0394743040
ISBN 13: 9780394743042
By: Marguerite Duras Richard Seever

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About this book

Lol Stein is a beautiful young woman, securely married, settled in a comfortable life--and a voyeur. Returning with her husband and children to the town where, years before, her fiance had abandoned her for another woman, she is drawn inexorably to recreate that long-past tragedy.

Reader's Thoughts

Emily

I can feel a Marguerite Duras fixation coming on.While fairly impressed with her late novel L'amant de la Chine du nord , I wasn't completely drawn into Duras's milieu until David and I watched Hiroshima mon amour, the 1959 Alain Resnais film for which she wrote the screenplay. To put it bluntly, Hiroshima mon amour blew. me. away. The opening sequence reduced me to sobs, overlaying Emmanuelle Riva's and Eiji Okada's stark, dreamlike narration (a stylized argument, which at times seems almost to veer into poetic verse, about whether or not Riva's character has or has not "seen" the devastation of Hiroshima) with footage of said devastation and of the hospital and museum Riva's character mentions. And the film as a whole raised fascinating questions about authenticity, storytelling, trauma, and the ability of humans to connect and empathize. Since Duras' 1964 novella Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein shares many of these same preoccupations, I thought I would attempt to write about them together, even though I know that I will be overwhelmed with material!Both Hiroshima and Ravissement, then, are deeply concerned with the extent to which it is (im)possible to step inside another person's experience. In the opening scene of the film, Riva's character (known simply as "elle" or "her") makes a repeated claim to have witnessed the events of nuclear devastation in Hiroshima, not at first hand but through visits to bomb victims in the hospital, trips to the museum, and viewings of the newsreels. As she amplifies on her experiences, speaking in mesmerizing circuits of repeated words, Eiji Okada's character "lui"/"him" occasionally interrupts her to deny her authority: "Tu n'as rien vu à Hiroshima." ("You saw nothing at Hiroshima.") So did she? It's a complicated question. On one hand, some of her claims are quite radical: J'ai eu chaud, Place de la Paix. Dix mille degrés sur la Place de la Paix. Je le sais. La temperature du soleil sur la Place de la Paix - comment l'ignorer? I was hot in Peace Square. Ten thousand degrees in Peace Square. I know it. The temperature of the sun in Peace Square - how could you not know it? Obviously, this Frenchwoman can only "know" that the temperature in Peace Square reached ten thousand degrees in the way one knows a fact from a history textbook: with her brain rather than her body. Likewise there is a world of difference between visiting an interpretive museum exhibit, even an extremely well-constructed one, and "knowing" an event through first-hand knowledge either personal or cultural. On the other hand, her empathy just as obviously exceeds the theoretical: watching those newsreels and museum exhibits really has imbued her with some part of the horror of the situation. In fact, as a viewer watching the scenes of devastation ourselves, we are in the exact same situation. Resnais and Duras make us question Elle's claims to understanding, even as they put us in an extreme position of identification with her. After all, if I am sobbing as I watch this film (which I was), how can I fully dismiss the power of simulacrums to convey experience? As she herself acknowledges later on, we as outside observers are limited in our ability to both feel and act: "On peut toujours se moquer. Mais que peut faire d'autre un touriste, que justement pleurer?" / "You can always scoff. But what else can a tourist do, but weep?" Later on in the film, Riva's character is possessive about her own traumatic war-time experience; her Japanese lover can listen and feel pain, but he can't truly understand. Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein, too, questions the ability of any person to tell the story of another's trauma—or even to claim absolute certainty about what that trauma was in the first place. Lola Valerie Stein (self-styled Lol V.) remains a cypher throughout the novella, which is narrated by her eventual lover, Jacques Hold. Jacques meets Lol through another lover of his, Tatiana Karl, an old school friend of Lol's who was present on the night, ten years before, which directly preceded Lol's mental breakdown. Exactly what precipitated this breakdown remains a subject of contention throughout the novella: while it's clear that Lol and her fiancé both met an older woman that night, and that the fiancé left with said woman as dawn was breaking, Lol's emotions at each step of the evening are puzzling, as is her present relationship to the past. For example, Tatiana recalls that for most of the dance Lol didn't seem to mind her fiancé being enamored of another woman, sitting calmly throughout the evening until the couple left the ballroom without her. Was she ever in love with her fiancé? Was she in love with the woman who replaced her in his affections? Was she in love with some mental image of the couple together, and herself as an observer of their love? Was she teetering on the brink of mental disaster the whole time, and this night was merely the straw that broke the camel's back of her mind?Tatiana is invested in one version of past events, and Lol—uncommunicative, shocky, and prone to telling bizarre, easily-detectable lies—is of little use as a witness. Jacques himself is all too aware of his inability to fathom Lol's inner world; not only was he not present on the famous night of the ball, but Tatiana, who was there, disagrees about whether it's even the crucial event in Lol's past. She feels that Lol has always been missing some crucial component, that her "self" has always been somehow absent, and that the seeds of her breakdown were present since long before the night at T. Beach.      Je lui ai demandé si la crise de Lol, plus tard, ne lui avait pas apporté la preuve qu'elle se trompait. Elle m'a répeté que non, qu'elle, elle croyait que cette crise et Lol ne faisaient qu'un depuis toujours.     Je ne crois plus à rien de ce que dit Tatiana, je ne suis convaincu de rien.      I asked her if Lol's breakdown, later on, didn't prove to her that she had been wrong. She repeated that no, that she, she believed that this attack and Lol had always been one.     I no longer believe in anything Tatiana says, I'm not convinced of anything. Thus not only do we have competing accounts of what happened inside Lol while she watched her fiancé fall for another woman, we have a debate about whether it even matters. Tatiana and Jacques are also unsure of the degree to which Lol has recovered from her breakdown: the slick surfaces of her immaculately-maintained home and marriage seem to indicate "recovery," yet Tatiana at least is invested in the idea of Lol's continuing malady. And what is that malady in the first place? It becomes clear that Lol is, for some reason and in some way, obsessed with her past, but what is she remembering and experiencing when she thinks of it?This brings up another commonality between Ravissement and Hiroshima, which is a preoccupation with memory and forgetting, and the pain involved in inevitably forgetting something one had sworn to remember. In the film, Riva's character gestures at this idea with the statementDe même que dans l'amour, cette illusion existe, cette illusion de pouvoir jamais oublier, de même j'ai eu l'illusion devant Hiroshima, que jamais je n'oublierai. De même que dans l'amour. Just as in love, this illusion exists, this illusion of never being able to forget, I had the illusion when confronted with Hiroshima, that I would never forget it. Just as in love. But the inability to forget—or more accurately, the ability to never forget, to remember forever, is just that: an illusion. Even as these characters are haunted by an inescapable relationship to their past traumas (to the point where several people identify each other as synonymous with those traumas), what dwells inside them is not precisely "memory" but an ever-changing set of reference points combining past, present, potential and imaginary. When Lol moves back to the town of S. Tahla after ten years away, for example, her memories of the town seem to start out sharp, not having been added to much in the intervening years, but soon they become eroded through frequent applications of new experience. [E]lle commença à reconnaître moins, puis différement, elle commença à retourner jour après jour, pas à pas vers son ignorance de S. Tahla.      Cet endroit du monde où on croit qu'elle a vécu sa douleur passée, cette prétendue douleur, s'efface peu à peu de sa mémoire dans sa matérialité. Pourquoi ces lieux plutôt que d'autres? En quelque point qu'elle s'y trouve Lol y est comment une première fois. De la distance invariable du souvenir elle de dispose plus: elle est là. Sa présence fait la ville pure, méconnaissable. Elle commence à marcher dans le palais fastueux de l'oubli de S. Tahla. She began to recognize less, then differently, she began to return day after day, step by step towards her ignorance of S. Tahla.      This spot in the world where they say she lived her past grief, this alleged grief, is little by little erased from her memory by her corporeality. Why these places rather than others? Wherever Lol finds herself, it is as though she is there for the first time. She no longer positions herself at the unvarying remove of memory: she is there. Her presence renders the city pure, unknowable. She begins to walk in the sumptuous palace of forgetting S. Tahla. Thus being back in her home town erodes Lol's past knowledge of it, just as she seems unable to see again the shapes of her past self and her former fiancé when she revisits T. Beach at the end of the novel. Her attempts to reenact the past with a new cast of characters, and force it to provide her with something that was missing the first time around, are dream-like and fascinating, asking similar questions and evoking a similar mood to the relationship between "Elle" and "Lui" in Hiroshima mon amour. I am eager to read more Duras from this period; where should I start? Moderato Cantabile? L'après-midi de M. Andesmas? Recommendations very much welcome. In the meantime, both Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein and Hiroshima mon amour come very highly recommended.

FrankH

Club ReadI agree with Michele that 'Ravishing' contains passages of expressive, poetic language but, for me, as a study of obsession and perhaps madness, the recursion and duality inherent in the major themes and the presentation do not completely cohere as artistic expression. Point of view is the start of the problem. Jack Hold's narrative, on the one hand, proceeds from the premise of providing a straight-up history of Lol Stein -- the heart-break of the abandonment by Richardson, the subsequent marriage to Bedford, the children and 'meticulous' home-making, the quirky attributes. But Jack's also giving himself license to embellish and create, stating 'it's better to rip open the tombs where Lol is feigning death than to fabricate mountains, create obstacles and rely on chance'. A little further he follows, 'I am always relying on hypotheses, which are in no way gratuitous...'. Perhaps, but at what point does the language tell more about Jack than Lol? 'I know Lol Stein in the only way I can, through love', he says. Exactement! By detailing what he believes is her sub-conscious, Jack is dually involved in mapping his own. As a result, the reader becomes unsure in his/her orientation to the characters and story. Add to this the recursive, reductive components expressed either as obsessive imaginings or elements of plot and there is a further unsettling. Lol keeps returning to the night at the Town Beach Casino, Jack to the hotel bedroom and the fields or rye. When Jack meets Lol in the tea room and she remarks that Jack 'can't bear' to be without Tatiana, we get this interior monologue, presumably from Jack: 'Flesh is being rent, is bleeding, is awakening. She is trying to listen to some inner commotion, fails to , is overwhelmed by the realization, however incomplete of her desire.' So we have the ambiguous antecedent of the first sentence, followed by Jack obsessing and speculating on Lol obsessing about her desire for Jack or is it Tatiana? Likewise, when Jack makes love to Tatiana in the hotel room, he seems thrilled by observing Lol watching them from the fields of rye; she doesn't realize -- or does she? -- her voyeurism is encapsulated by actor Jack turned observer, dual roles again. At one point, Jack describes to Lol his love-making to Tatiana and both become voyeurs together, with Lol finally asking 'Tatiana, with her head hidden beneath the sheet, she's not me, is she?' I expect romantic or erotic obsession is by defintion recursive and I get the idea that, in this 'menage a trois', the sub-conscious mind is hard at work blurring the boundaries of self and other. But, artistically, it is easier to create the dreamscape than the dreamer. I would be interested in hearing from from more readers like Rosemary on how much -- or little -- they are engaged with Jack, Lol and Tatiana as characters. For my part, Duras has no affection for them and as a result, the storytelling lacks the kind of individual detail that would make these themes of obsession more effective, especially in the context of an amorphous point of view.

karen

nope. i do not like marguerite duras. janet flanner, in the new yorker claims that her writing has a "shine like crystal." and that's probably true, if one is observing that it is as pointy and depthless as crystal, as chill and remote, as something that refracts emptily. ooooh duras BURN!!if this is a literary bodice ripper, i gotta say i prefer the crappy contemporary ones. this one isn't even intense with the taut tingling of repression, which also has its place and is something i can appreciate - it doesn't all have to be desperate passions and rending of garments, but this zombie vacuity does nothing for me - nothing nothing nothing. there is nothing at stake here, just people blinking emptily at each other, speaking words with no momentum behind them, frequently non sequiturs so it seems as though they are involved in separate conversations. lack of quotation marks so that when one character will reluctantly, languidly plop out a sentence, you sometimes don't even know which one is speaking, unless there is a back-and-forth, and then you can use context or whatever. but the one isolated word or phrase in a scene when two people are just sitting around existing, who knows who is speaking? who cares? and i am not just pouting because no one but me wanted to read zola for the literary smut portion of our rippings, i swear. i did not like The Lover when i read it, but i had hope nonetheless. this one sounded like it could be interesting. but the french have this habit of creating highly stylized works of art that leave me cold. why do they do that? very infuriating, frenchies...i know all the other rippers will have informed and intelligent things to say about this, and my frazzled and sweaty frustration will be coolly counteracted by more reasonable ladies (and a dude or two) with elegant and refined responses examining the psychology of characters such as these, and what duras is trying to accomplish be portraying them in this way, but i am a monster and i bust down the door and say "boring boring boring boring!!!"also, "boring!!"now i will go hide. ♥

Kaycie Hall

Before this I had only read Duras's The Lover (and in English). We translated the first page or so of Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein in a French to English translation class I'm taking at the University of Paris, and it reawakened my interest in Duras. I love her writing style--direct and to the point, leaving little to the imagination (or maybe everything if you choose to think there's something deliberately left to curiosity). I read this in French without the aid of a dictionary, and it's quite possible that I missed some of the subtleties, but I found this story to be really striking---Lol's being jilted while in college (middle school/early high school age in France) has left her cold and odd, despite the many years that have passed and the seemingly happy life she ended up having. I really loved that the story is told not by Lol herself, or even by her childhood friend Tatiana, but by her lover (and Tatiana's lover), who really only just met Lol. He, like the reader, really was an outsider looking in and incapable of truly understanding exactly what it was that afflicted Lol.

Amir

خانم مارگاریت عزیز؛دیشب کتاب شیدایی لل اشتاین تان را خواندم. با همه ی احترامی که برای رمان هاتان قایلم نمی توانم از این بگذرم که چندان چیزی از درونیات مردها نمی دانید. قبول دارم؛ ما مردها از شما پیچ و تاب کمتری داریم. اما دیگر نه آن قدر که سبک سرانه با شخصیت های مردتان برخورد کنید. نه این قدر که شخصیت مردتان توی روز روشن رفتارها و واکنش های بی ربط داشته باشد. کجای دنیا مرد از به هم خوردن آرایش صورت و موی زن این قدر دقیق حرف می زند. کجای دنیا مردها این قدر منفعل و بی خاصیت هستند که دوتاشان اصلا نباشند، یکی شان اصلا توی دور نباشد، آن یکی هم که هست بیشتر یک زن باشد تا مرد. حیف این داستان خوب و تغییر پیاپی و معرکه ی راوی ها نبود؟ نمی شد مردها را با همان ضعف های خودشان، که کم هم نیستند روایت می کردید؟ خاطرخواه نوشته هاتان هستم، خودتان هم می دانید؛ اما دیگر گند نزنید به خاطره ها.

Myriam

Beautifully written but not my cup of tea...too "modernist" ...resembles but does not reach, I think, some of the Woolf's best works, even resembling works like Mrs. Dalloway in theme and key scenes....I prefer Duras' more sustained pieces of fiction, the longer novels. However, it was worth reading after her reflections on writing in which she explains how she wrote the novel, and the importance of her writing place in process, which is reflected in the novel in terms of scenes within enclosures - hotels and ancient houses by the ocean (in Normandy, Northern France).

Shaherzad ahmadi

I feel bad giving this book a 3/5. The prose is lyrical and very experimental; I recognize this as an excellent book in style. However, in terms of the story itself... I wish I could say it matched her prose; and I wish I could say that her prose was fully developed so that the reader could at least follow her train of thought. Her style reminds me in some ways of James Joyce's, but unfortunately she is less skilled in relaying this type of disjointed stream of consciousness. I had to read paragraphs multiple times because the ideas were so random and the conversations so inchoate. Also, the crux of the story, that Lol was jilted by her fiance for a married woman, wasn't that compelling. Ok, people get dumped and become extremely depressed as a result: how could this one event have affected her life so completely and people's opinion of her so dramatically?Half the book (narrated by Jack, Tatiana and eventually Lol's lover) is about Lol's long walks, which she spends consumed by the scene of her fiance falling in love with this married woman, wondering what would have happened if things had gone differently. And, perhaps in her obsession with the past as a detached and in control observer (as one is when reflecting on the past), she begins to affect her old friend Tatiana's relationship with her lover Jack. She watches them make love from a hidden vantage and dictates to Jack what she wants from his relationship with Tatiana. Except this part is only partially explained as Jack is totally smitten with Lol and he just sort of muses about her mystery the whole book rather than elaborate on this interesting trio-dynamic more thoroughly. What compels him to follow her orders? Why doesn't he ask Lol why she is demanding so much of his affair with Tatiana? Does it in some ways alleviate the pain, and give her the power she lacked, from the last triangle she was part of? Other interesting questions remain unanswered, or even casually ignored. Tatiana says that Lol's depression (after Lol's fiance abandoned her) was not a result of Lol's heartbreak but some other factor, a lack of heart as Tatiana puts it, something that had happened long ago to make her what she was: but this too, this enormous assertion on the part of Tatiana, is never discussed or even implied by Lol. What was wrong with Lol to begin with that made her susceptible to such insanity? Why did Tatiana feel Lol was never truly human? What is it that Lol is hiding? What did Lol mean that they were "wrong about the reasons"? We never know. These questions are skirted under the guise of Lol's perverse mystery. But honestly, it doesn't seem natural not to ask. Tatiana is the only character who demands answers; one would think the narrator, Jack, who purports to love her so intensely, would be curious to find these answers as well - but no, he is not, and thus the reader is never satisfied by the hints and implications that lead nowhere. It doesn't really make that much sense and in the end you don't understand any character at all - except for maybe Tatiana, who seems like the only one resembling a human, described with more form and fluidity than the others.Altogether, a weird book. I had read The Lover, and truly adored everything about it. This was kind of disappointing.

Debra

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die group read.Reading this one for a group read. Why? I like torture? I don't know folks... yeah it's kinda dreamy and poetic, stream-of-consciousness writing... but it's boring. Does anything happen, I mean HAPPEN to these people? lol Ok... I'm going to finish it because I'm half-way through and it reads fast... but I'm yawning folks. Plus, I find I'm flipping back and forth trying to figure out who's saying what. Maybe something got lost in the translation, which is sadly so often true. Well... I finished the book. I can't say it really was a book I had to read before I died. Wonder why they call it the "ravishing" of Lol Stein. Not much ravishing going on with all the clandestine sex going on. lol

Patrick

Pretty good, I guess, but not quite as good as The Ravishing of ROTFLMAO Stein.

Tom

The writing of Marguerite Duras reminded me of movies such as 'Festen' and 'Melancholia'. It seems detached from reality, empty even, and the more you read, the more the whole book seems to disappear. 'Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein' is not an easy book to read, but it is a very strong intellectual stimulus. We are talking about an author who wrote a book that had a clear meaning, but then decided to scratch out all the words that assured some clarity.We are talking about a character that is called Lol V. Stein (not the most sexy name for a character) who likes to be the ignored corner of a triangular relationship. We are also talking about trauma without the presence of pain. In fact, what is this book all about? Lol is left by her husband, but seems to find a sort of perverted pleasure in him taking off with another woman. She then tries to recreate this whole scenario by manipulating the lover of her best friend, who also happens to be the narrator.I'll come back to this review after I've analysed this book in my French class, but for now, all I can say is that usually I have strong feelings after finishing a book. Either very positive, very negative or very neutral. This book is like the somewhat creepy, silent kid that was always in your class, the faux pas that did have a certain charisma. Very strange, very intruiging.

Chris

Not worth the read. I read it as part of the '1001 Books You Should Read in Your Life' group and finished this one having no idea why it was on the list. The writing was erratic and long winded without much really happening at all in the book. I can kind of see the whole idea of women's liberation in it when taking into account the fact that it was written in the 60's but not much was said, only vaguely implied. Lol's character was developed significantly but she is so strange and wishy washy with only the explanation of cancelled engagement. I found her reactions to everything very hard to believe. Tatiana didn't make a whole lot of sense either. She has some strange love affair going on with the narrator and is pretty certain there is something going on between Lol and him but she just chooses to largely ignore it, while Lol and Tatiana's husbands are suspicious but don't do anything about what they suspect to be their cheating wives. In what odd, cryptic parallel reality is this? I also didn't understand why the weakest and most vague of the characters was chosen to be the narrator. I choose to believe that part of the problem was in a faulty translation and since I don't speak French, I can't do much about that. However, I believe the problem had to be a lot more than the translation to come up with something this weak and ineffectual.

Dawn

In a word: hypnotic. Yet also, startling. This was recommended to me by a creative writing professor I had in college, after reading a short story I wrote involving a female protagonist who was similar to Lol. There are moments when, as one reviewer said, Marguerite Duras puts such a spell on the reader with the way she uses language, that the reader almost feels "drugged". It's a haunting, erotic novel of intersecting characters driven by loss, obsession and voyeurism. Lol is shattered by a trauma that leaves a cut so deep, she can never pick up the pieces and become a whole person. Instead, she lives the shadow of a real life and lives vicariously through her voyeurism of Jacques & Tatiana. Meanwhile, through a deft shift in perspective, the reader also gets to glimpse a man's obsession and addiction to an elusive, enigmatic, 'damaged' woman/personality. As I remember it, there is nothing erotic about the love scene between Jacques & Lol when it finally occurs; it is, in fact, so unerotic it's startling & slightly disturbing. While there is a palpable attraction between these two characters, I interpreted it as the final manifestation of Lol's inability to feel. She may be able to live vicariously through others, but she cannot, or will not, allow herself to feel, experience genuine pleasure or any genuine emotion for that matter. The pain of her past has paralyzed her emotionally. When I think of Lol Stein, the words that come to mind are, 'fragility', 'instability' and 'paralysis'. As I said earlier, it's a hypnotic character study of a life defined and structured by tragedy and its aftermath, yet also a novel delving into the elements of attraction, obsession and possession.

Kelly

Sample paragraph: "Lol dreams of another time when the same thing that is going to happen would happen differently. In another way. A thousand times. Everywhere. Elsewhere. Among others, thousands of others who, like ourselves, dream of this time, necessarily. This dream contaminates me." The three-star rating is not for readability.

Phoenix Kaur

I would venture to suspect that this book has as-yet undiscovered profound implications for me on a personal level. I read it twice years ago, in 1989, and again in 1997. Most recently, in 2011, I found my way to an essay upon, primarily this novel, but also Marguerite Duras' and Alain Renais' 1959 movie: "Hiroshima, Mon Amour". The essay was written by Emily, and it spiraled me into a place I was unsure of, but quite curious about. I read the essay while processing what I had learned from the Kundalini Yoga Level 2 training: Authentic Relationships, and while recovering from an emotionally painful surgery. On the morning after completing the requirements to receive my certificate for my fourth Level 2 module: Lifestyles & Lifecycles, I am met with this realization:We have the capacity to heal our 'stories' and transform them profoundly into something new, something much different. Words can heal. Words can harm.I am struck, currently, at the words which I read of others about the devastation of the oceans from the Fukushima disaster and the apparent ignorance of the gravity of it, because it hasn't really affected us yet. People can forget the compassion they felt for Japan after the earthquake back in 2011, and blame the victim. I see that happening. People can entirely misunderstand the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII, and say some incredibly insensitive things, without even meaning to do so, or very well meaning to do so. People can even be unaware, and unable to enter into another's story enough, that they might be so gauche as to blame the sufferings of the Holocaust even upon it's victims, but...People can also engage in what was suggested in the text from my very 1st Kundalini Yoga Level 2 Module, Authentic Relationships: "...All this can happen with simple words. Words and Naad. If you let yourself merge into prem; if you just let yourself be selfless for a moment; if you let yourself feel the energy of that story, it can heal lifetimes ~not just what happened last week --but lifetimes, because it helps you change your story." ~p. 150 of that textAnd it was written in relationship to the practice of the Mere Man Lochai Shabd from Shabd Hazaray. Emily's essay + Duras' & Renais movie "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" + 4 KRI Level 2s beginning with Authentic Relationships = slowly slipping into prem, but not without some degree of trepidation. Changing our stories is as profound a transformation as emerging from a chrysalis.Can we all just become butterflies? Can we change our stories as some of the creative and resilient children of Hiroshima and of Auschwitz did? Those children who survived to become adults? Through boundless imagination? It is not just a gift given to the young. We can imagine. We can dream. And it can become our new reality.We can read books like "The Ravishing of Lol V. Stein" and screenplays like "Hiroshima, Mon Amour", and find a depth that can allow us to see how our own personal stories can change, can become larger than us, large enough to embrace the pain of the whole world and transform it through imagination, and a willingness to do what Emily alluded to in her essay that I read, which is to allow our memories to cease being so sharp, to allow them to transform through "frequent applications of new experience." Not to forget, really, but just to heal, and to create a new story. And I will re-read this book finally. It is time again.

Jay

I was really impressed by the first few chapters of this book, but after that... well, the writing made it difficult to follow. I like books that make me think or even one where I have to stop for a bit to consider, but I found myself re-reading pages I'd just read going "now who said this??" And yet... at times I really liked the narrator's way of telling the story. I liked when he would point out that he was trying to construct parts he couldn't know for sure. Probably what I need to do now (or someday kind of soon) is re-read the book. Now that I've worked through it once and understood some of the rougher spots, maybe I'd get a lot more from it.

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