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.

Wednesday, 26 June 2002

"Texterminator" by Christine Brooke-Rose (Carcanet, 1991)

In an age when literary characters fear death a conference is arranged using religious themes as well as literary interest to prolong their lives. At the Christian session ("In the name of the Reader, and of the Interpreter, and of His Imagination"), terrorists dressed in long white robes and black turbans spray machine gun fire. A White Knight kills them off. But is he real? And were the terrorists? And what about the detectives (Columbo, etc) who investigate? In the list of the killed, the main character sees her own name. Has she too become one of the forgotten characters of literature?

At the end the Hilton Hotel where the delegates are staying falls. Rescue teams work non-stop for 5 weeks, after which the government decides whether to resist or yield to speculators.

The Ideal Reader make an appearance. So do sentences in French and German. So do puns

Characters are constellations you know, constellations of semes
Did you say semen?
Could be. In a spermissive society. You and I are situated at different narrative levels.
And yet we meet. Here for instance

By now you'll probably have a good idea whether this is a book for you. I didn't think it went far enough into the comic and theoretic possibilities, but that's probably because I missed so many of the allusions.

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