Thursday, February 11, 2016
LITERARY SPARKS THAT FLARE UP INTO FLAMES: DEIRDRE MCNAMER
by Fiction Editor U.R. Bowie
You read something, the words flash at you; they spark creativity in your brain. Deirdre McNamer’s writings often do this to me.
Here are some examples from her novel My Russian. The ones in direct quotations are (I think) totally Ms. McNamer’s. The ones not in quotations are what my creative mind came up with when reading her creativity.
- [the main character, Francesca, having disguised herself to look older, is chagrined at people’s new take on her] “Had I been a dog, I think he would have glanced at me. It’s a revelation—the invisibility of old age.”
- You’re outside a house looking in. The family room, flashes of blue television light, the faint drone of an announcer at the football game, some tiny cheers from a tiny crowd.
- That horrific lunch when Laura broke all the rules of social etiquette was wiped out, off the map, never discussed again, but it still sits there at the edges of our days , the mute residue of the thing, lethal and irremediable.
- The feeling I always get when watching standup comedians on TV. “I feel desperate to usher the performer offstage, desperate to wipe the leer off his face and keep the next joke unsaid, because even the best of all jokes won’t be enough to compensate for such stark public vulnerability.”
- She was one of those intensely ebullient people who are great at the right kind of party but wear mightily on the nerves in a small tight space.
- Lies get installed. They skitter into place like a panting child late for the first day of class, unsure she has the right room. Heads turn. Where did she come from in all her blonde-haired dishevelment? A half-hour later, yellow head bent, tongue protruding, scribbling away, she’s always been there, she’s never been absent—she’s not a lie anymore.
Really nice stuff here. Don’t you agree?
(Read Bowie’s Book Review: Vladimir Nabokov’s Letters to Véra)