Sunday, May 13, 2012

On "The Cardboard Dress" by Ian Bassingthwaighte (3971 words) ****

I have an anthology on modernism in literature that I inherited from a retiring professor many years ago. One of the things I like about that anthology is that it splits modernist writing into three camps: realism, impressionism, and expressionism. In a way, all such labels are simply means of categorizing that have little bearing on the writing itself, but in another way, they're interesting ways to think about the way in which one writes or reads a work. Right now, I'm feeling like I've just finished a marvelous work of impressionism.

The narrator here struggles with his point of view from moment to moment. Does he hate his wife or love her? Does he hate these friends they have or love them? Oh, and does he really want to experiment with group sex or is he only interested in gauging his wife's reaction to the proposition? And what reaction is he expecting? Like many persons whose motivations and feelings regarding dubious encounters change from moment to moment, so too does this narrators. Read the story here at TriQuarterly.

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