Viewing entries tagged
Biblioasis

Elise Levine’s <br><i>Blue Field</i>

Elise Levine’s
Blue Field

Reviewed by Hannah LeClair

As a writer, Elise Levine has an affinity for the tightly compressed, and so her novel Blue Field revolves around the exploration of torturously claustrophobic underwater spaces through the risky, physically and mentally challenging practice of “crunch diving.” In the novel, Levine sends her protagonist, Marilyn, into the depths of cenotes, where submarine rivers stream from limestone caverns, and the flooded galleys of shipwrecks. Levine describes these dives in writing that is accordingly elegant and compact. Reading the novel is a sensation akin to drifting weightlessly beneath the surface of the text—”the underside of waves a shimmering twill,” in Levine’s words. In her hands, this description becomes an apt metaphor for her prose: dazzling, textured, tightly woven. Such elegance is the result of careful and unremitting practice. Levine, a transplant to Baltimore from her native Toronto, is an exacting writer whose two other books are a testament to her drive for precision: a 2003 novel entitled Requests and Dedications, and the acclaimed 1995 collection, Driving Men Mad, in which her short stories unfolded across sometimes as few as three or four pages in dense, highly controlled language...

Emili Teixidor's <br><i>Black Bread</i>

Emili Teixidor's
Black Bread

Reviewed by Tyler Langendorfer

Midway through Emili Teixidor’s Black Bread, a question surfaces: “Does memory have a guiding thread or purpose?” The many enigmatic qualities of memory seem to be under investigation here and throughout the entire novel. Its qualities alongside its centrality in the understanding of ourselves: How does it shape the type of person we become? Would we be completely different with a whole new set of memories? Black Bread frequently alludes to memory’s instability, its wavering between continuity and transience: What images and words trigger memories to reappear? Why do some individuals stay in our mind longer than others? Yet perhaps the most disquieting aspect of Teixidor’s insistent investigation is his consideration of memory’s value in our relationships with others: Do memories demand fidelity to loved ones? If friends and family start to fade from the mind, does their importance diminish with them? As the burden of these inquiries takes hold, the adolescent narrator of Black Bread, Andreu, realizes that the dissolution of his connections with the past—-the ephemerality of meaning that this precipitates—-is a fate worse than death. . . .