Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Malarky hanging with the mighty Jamaica Kincaid

I would be thrilled to be on an overdue library book list beside Jamaica Kincaid, so was very happy to find Malarky invoked in a Winnipeg Free Press review of Jamaica’s new novel See Now Then.

Here’s the mention:

“Kincaid draws readers into the couple’s deepest thoughts and feelings as they ponder, as the novel’s title suggests, their past, present and future. In this way, the narrative is reminiscent of Canadian Anakana Schofield’s 2012 novel Malarky, a very different story about mismatched spouses, unhappiness and longing that focuses heavily on the inner dialogue of its characters. That one too was lyrically written, but too peculiar in style to enjoy wide appeal.”

I’ve just started reading See Now Then and ponder it’s curly, exhaling sentences. They perfectly fit the the image of  the roots of a plant or shrub that wraps itself under the soil and around and on and on … very much the way a marriage does. The way peoples lives entwine into and out of and away from, in parallel and back towards. There could be no better form for such a book. It’s a novel to ponder on the sentence level and to meet in the same way its’ sentences greet the reader. They are railway tracks. She manages to create undulating railway tracks where the train (from my reading) does not derail. As I said I’ve only begun the novel, but there’s also an assumptive quality to the text, that has an oration feel to it and such assumptive tone and lift are again the domain, the domicile of marriage. Versions within versions. Chorus. Back to the version.

I default to Blanchot when I talk about this work. Forget the writer’s intention, (who cares whether it is or is not from her life I can find no consideration more tedious) forget the reader’s response, interrogate the text and what’s it offers. What’s there in those words alone, how they sit, why they sit how they do. It’s plenty enough. Even the title gives us this instruction.

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