Monday, December 13, 2010

The Way through Doors by Jesse Ball

This is Jesse Ball's second novel. I read his first book, Samedi the Deafness, simply because I liked the cover art, but was pleased to find that I enjoyed the story as well. The Way through Doors also has a lovely cover--the rectangle within a rectangle within a rectangle, the words of the title cut in half, aptly symbolize the structure of the novel itself.

When a pamphleteer sees a woman run down by a taxi, he takes her to the hospital and lies that he is her boyfriend. He must keep the woman awake, so he tells her stories all night, attempting to revive her memories in the process. At this point the book launches into a rather unconventional story arc, with the novel beginning again, the narrative folding in upon itself, breaking off in new directions while leaving the earlier story unfinished each time. In every version, he seeks to learn the woman's identity.

This is a complex, many layered, comically absurd novel, written with poetically skillful language. I'm excited to see that he has a new novel coming out in June, called The Curfew.

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