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.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

"Ellipse 2" (Comma Press, 2006)

17 stories by Jane Rogers, Polly Clark and Zoe Lambert. The subject matter's topical (immigrants, separation, etc). I prefer Rogers (who of the 3 also happens to have the most prose credentials), but it's a close thing. Her framed story "Conception" works well. "Salt" spans many years. "Meanwood Sally" is, I suppose, a modern, polyphonic ghost story. Whereas Rogers uses variation in style, Clark destabilises using relationships and genders (even body-swapping). Her section had the greatest initial impact. Only "Road Kill" is conventional. Women don't come out too well (wives and flowersellers tend to be rather odd) but then the men have their problems too - in "A Season in Hell" (which may be her best) a husband's haunted by Rimbaud who has an affair with his wife). Lambert's multicultural reach is impressive, though I wasn't so struck by her story-telling. "A Quiet Longing" for example ends with the character walking along, reaching roadworks - "I stop at the barrier and orange cones, confused for a moment. I'm not sure how to get past or which way I should go" - a trick I (and many others) have used before.

No comments:

Post a Comment