Sunday, March 11, 2012

On "Unhappy Women I Have Loved" by Paul Takeuchi (4411 words) *****

Takeuchi makes the ensemble story look easy. Indeed, breaking stories into discreet bits and giving us each morsel is a common technique. After all, in film, we have one scene followed by another and then by another. Writing has to come in these small portions. But midway through Takeuchi's story, I realized he was doing something slightly different, something a bit more difficult. This is, in the end, a story told mostly as summary--summaries of various relationships. There are some scenes, but mostly there are just very well-told overviews, abstractions about the kind of person each woman the narrator dated was. And they are fascinating--perhaps, in part, because they're all depressed. But there's also just so much love here, so my enthusiasm, so much wordplay. I was reminded of Nabokov. And I wanted more, but alas our narrator stops at three--or four or five--women. Read the story here at the Adirondack Review.

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