Passages

Passages

by Ann Quin
     
 

A poetic book of voices, landscapes and the passing of time, Ann Quin's finely wrought novel reflects the multiple meanings of the very word "passages." Two characters move through the book--a woman in search of her brother, and her lover (a masculine reflection of herself) in search of himself. The form of the novel, reflecting the schizophrenia of the characters,

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Overview

A poetic book of voices, landscapes and the passing of time, Ann Quin's finely wrought novel reflects the multiple meanings of the very word "passages." Two characters move through the book--a woman in search of her brother, and her lover (a masculine reflection of herself) in search of himself. The form of the novel, reflecting the schizophrenia of the characters, is split into two sections--a narrative, and a diary annotated with those thoughts that provoked the entries.

Dalkey Archive Press

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"It will interest fans of avant-garde fiction and students of the aesthetic side of mental illness alike." -- Booklist

Dalkey Archive Press

New York Times

Ann Quinn works over a small area with the finest of tools... every page, every word gives evidence of her care and workmanship.

Library Journal
Quin, one of a small cadre of British experimental writers, produced four novels before her death in 1973. Forgotten and out of print for nearly 40 years, they languished until Dalkey Archive began reissuing them in 2001; Passages, never before published in the United States, is the last of the four to appear. Quin spins the tales of two pitiable figures, one an unnamed woman who searches every face and nook for her brother, likely taken as a political prisoner, and the other a man who tries to climb out of his debilitating schizophrenia. Neither meets with success. Avant-garde in style, especially because of its jerky rhythm and the melding of poetry and annotated journal entries, the novel is edgy, brooding, and brilliant. Its raw power derives from symbolism and wordplay rather than plot or character development; images proliferate of shadow and light, both subterranean and above the surface. As Quin subordinates plot to symbolism, she forcefully conveys a sense of terror, immorality, and inhumanity. What better way to reinforce this sensibility than by not naming any of her protagonists and by keeping them constantly on the run as they go through emotional and geographic "passages"? Quin's evocations of terror, suspicion, and heightened awareness ring eerily true today. New generations will now have the opportunity to discover this original literary voice. For most libraries.-Lisa Nussbaum, Dauphin Cty. P.L., Harrisburg, PA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This terse, enigmatic 1969 novel—the third from its gifted, troubled (ultimately suicidal) British author (1936–73)—completes Dalkey’s US publication of her slender fictional output (Tripticks, p. 703, etc.). It eschews conventional characterization and narrative for reminiscence, dream, and fantasy, as indulged by the story’s alternating narrators. One is an unnamed woman in her 30s who searches for her lost (possibly dead) brother in unidentified, variously exotic foreign climes (references to "almond trees" and "dunes" are intriguing but unspecific), where insurrection and repression continually recycle and women are routinely exploited and brutalized by men. The other narrator is her lover, a self-absorbed academic whose oversimplified surmises about her behavior are counterpointed against marginal comments comparing himself with figures from Greek mythology. Quin’s fragmented text, interrupted streams of consciousness, and emphasis on S&M excess generate intermittent power, but overall tend to ensure that the woman’s climactic request—"All I ask is to be left in peace with my own madness"—will be eagerly granted by many, if not most, readers.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564782793
Publisher:
Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
01/01/2003
Series:
British Literature Series
Edition description:
1ST US
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
5.58(w) x 8.16(h) x 0.33(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Ann Quin (1936-1973) was one of the great unsung geniuses of 20th century British fiction. After a Catholic education, a brief stint of secretarial work, and a nervous breakdown, she began to write, and fell in with loosely-defined group of experimental English novelists that included B.S. Johnson, Stefan Themerson, and Eva Figes. Between 1964 and her suicide in 1973, Quin wrote four utterly unique novels, any one of which should've secured a lifelong reputation. Her work looks back to Beckett and Robbe-Grillet and forward to Markson, Sorrentino, Acker, and Bolaño. Berg, her debut novel, was the basis for the 1989 film Killing Dad.

Dalkey Archive Press

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