Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Monday 3 August 1998

"Night Geometry and the Garscadden Trains" by A.L. Kennedy (Phoenix, 1993)

Wife battering and sensitivity to smells appear rather a lot, and I think that too often a structural gimmick is used to make a plain biography more interesting. "Genteel Potatoes" isn't much of a story, nor is "Star Dust". "The role of notable silences in Scottish history" is better in this respect, the form matching the content. Kennedy tries to show us characters' thoughts using their own forms of languages, but too often the characters (perhaps because of shared pre-occupations or states of mind) sound much like each other.

"Translations" is very different from the rest of the pieces. I'd have liked to see more experiments like this. I liked "The seaside photographer" best, perhaps because the author didn't use adultery or murder to force a piece of "writing" into the shape of a "story".

"[in A.L.Kennedy's stories] there is nearly always a running imagery ... which at first seems inconsequential, but which can in the end be seen as a kind of correlative, a summing-up in metaphor of the central issue", Douglas Gifford , "A History of Scottish women's writing", Edinburgh UP, 1997, p.617

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