Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Review of C

I've written a long, critical review of the 'C: A Novel'. A short extract and a link to the full review below:

She moves to the more prosaic revelation that she cannot counter a man who says the right things but does not give her what she needs. While other details of space and location do pull the narrative in other directions, it arches back to the question of a relationship that is intense but unfulfilling. Aside from this theme, much of this novel is about the struggle to create. The city and the storyteller want to go ‘go for the kill’, to capture some essential truth. The writer’s self-doubt is projected onto the voice of the city who observes: “Have I chosen the wrong storyteller?”

Most chapters read like a writer’s journal. They describe her determination to make her time abroad add up to something, her experiences in libraries, admiration for Sylvia Plath, and her pondering experiments in writing from a male perspective. Through her struggle to live a creative life and to resolve her complicated relationship, the reader gains insights into the formation of the narrator’s literary self – exposed to seminal literature in at least two languages – as well as to a wounded self, the one that was mocked and knuckle-rapped by teachers, sexually assaulted, romantically involved with ‘scumbags’, and guilty. As the ghost says, “What you’re writing is who you are.”

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