Fences in Breathing

Fences in Breathing

By Aparna Sanyal

A review of Fences In Breathing by Nicole Brossard

Published on November 1, 2009

Fences In Breathing
Nicole Brossard

Coach House Books
$18.95
paper
114pp
978-1-55245-213-4

A nebulous writer named Anne is at the centre of this experimental novel about language and meaning. Taking refuge in a Swiss chateau at the invitation of an equally mysterious retired publisher, Anne begins “slowly writing a novel in a language other than my own.”

Anne’s characters gradually take shape: Charles, a woodworker and sculptor in love with June, the owner of a video store; Kim, the sister with whom he lives, about to start a new life in a northern town; and Laure Ravin, a workaholic lawyer obsessed with both the Patriot Act and her dying mother. As these figures grow more real to their restless creator, they begin to haunt her enchanting exile.

The language with which their stories are built conceals as much as it betrays, not only about the characters but also about the writer-narrator. Full of tantalizing loose ends and teasing suggestions, this novel invites the reader into a psychological landscape as complex and remote as the chateau in which the action takes place.

mRb
Aparna Sanyal is editor of the mRb.

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