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Juliet ..., Remember based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Che Elias' novel Juliet¿ Remember is very much a book concerned with thought and its representation. The novel takes the images of memory, murky and faded, and pastes them together in their unique order with little apology or explanation. In some senses this can frustrating for a reader weaned on Dickens or Hemingway and their straightforward style. Those with a taste for more daring literature, however, might find this method more appealing. Even those familiar with Proust's In Search of Lost Time will find something appealing about Juliet¿ Remember, as it brings to form the reminiscences and pseudo-feelings of coming of age in a way that gives precedence to psychological accuracy more than narrative constraints. Just as life overlaps life faster than perception can put meaning to it (in the way that the major occurrences of our lives often wash over us so quickly that we can only make sense of them in retrospect), the events and exposition of Juliet over-pace the reader's ability to construct an artificial thematic structure. This means that while the narrative defies meaning in the traditional sense, it strongly asserts the validity of raw experience as a means to understanding the human experience. We all flounder through our first sexual experiences, love, and anger the way the characters in Juliet do, and the way the narrative itself does, never sure whether to recount too much or too little, always opting for the first. In a sense Juliet is a creation that attempts to bring reality to life the way that it actually feels. It discards the conventions of the traditional narrative and instead boldly puts life on display. It is a personal novel for the narrator, but it is also personal for the reader. When a reader takes the time to turn themselves over to the work, the thoughts of the novel seamlessly supplant their own. They are not a series of constructions meant to invoke images of a life past, they are the words that reflect the images of that past. They are a step closer to life. In my own fiction, I often spend a great deal of time constructing the story around my story. I create a fiction about the narrator ('How does she know what she knows?' 'Who is she?' etc.). In Juliet¿ Remember, the narrator is obliterated. The story is brought to the reader without intermediary. It is essentially the image-ization of feelings without the middle-man of traditional structures. By rendering as quickly and as viscerally as possible only raw and symbolic images and events, the novel takes an idea and expresses it as an idea, not as a story, which is only a reflection of an idea. The primary vehicle for these ideas is a loose pastiche of dream sequences and fairy-tales, interwoven with bits of actual events. These methods rely heavily on archetype, though sometimes in interesting mutations. This may hinder the book in a non-western context, since much of the symbolism relies on a sort of Jungian uber-consciousness, which may or may not translate as richly in other cultures as it does in the West. Moving beyond the general structure and technique, several other veins in the novel's style elaborate deeper themes. Depictions of scenes using terms and directions from cinema do not give the book the feel of a film; instead, the book feels like the making of a film. Because the depictions describe camera angles and equipment (cranes, booms, lenses etc.) the technical aspect reminds the reader that the cinematic aspects are a construct, and not pure visualization. This inclusion of a narrative viewpoint and reference to the artifice of the work breaks the book's cohesion. The implied director stands between the work and the reader in a way that is notably absent in other parts of the novel. I commented earlier that one of the more striking characteristics of Juliet¿ Remember is the lack of a narrative perspective. By constantly changing from focalizer to focalizer and linguistic person to linguistic person,