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Swann's Way
Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis
Norman Rush
The Unknown University
Roberto Bolaño, Laura Healy
Postmodern Belief: American Literature and Religion since 1960 (20/21)
Amy Hungerford
The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays
James Wood
Konfidenz (Latin American Literature Series) - Ariel Dorfman, Andrei Codrescu
”Context is ninety percent of verisimilitude. What I mean is that when our good uncle opened that letter from Paris, signed by Franz, full of details about life here, it never crossed his mind that it could have been written by someone else. Context—and, naturally, ingenuousness. People believe what they want to believe.”

I really, sorta, kinda, totally, absolutely, mostly, maybe-should-read-again, liked it—a lot. Helpful? If not, let’s try this…

Do you like Mysteries?

Neither do I. Not particularly.

Do you like Intrigue/Suspense stories?

Ditto. Not exactly a fan either.

Metafiction? Surprise plot twists? Contentedly complacent about not really knowing?

We are all PoMo.

When a woman checks into her Paris hotel room, she is immediately contacted by Leon, a friend of her fiancé. A conversation ensues. He knows a lot about her. She’s never heard of him. He knows more than seems likely, or prudent. Someone is listening in. Others are listening in on them all—and watching them. The reader is watching all of them—and listening (reading) in. Some matter. Some matter more than others. The narrator’s interest in the reader, suggests he (or she) matters, but questions linger. Transitional chapters advance the plot, frequently addressing the reader, questioning him (or her), misleading him (or her), challenging him (or her) to make sense of it all. Then, WHAM, sorta.

It seems to me the transitional chapters, where the narrator addresses the reader (constantly as a male reader) detracts from the suspense developed in the conversational chapters. They aggravate empathy. They deaden the impact bad joke—double spoiler. Dorfman does a lot well. But… Give it a try. We’ll talk.

”Just that your picture was like a dream.”
”A dream? You indulged in an ironic statement?”
”It was a way of surviving.”

Mysterious. Funny. Sad. Confusing. Sadder. Life during war time, saddest.