The Whole Night Through
The Whole Night Through suffers from this phenomenon. Frenette does not develop her characters, but accords each an unchanging scenery of words. Gabrielle is associated with her “pain” and “anxiety,” her brother Paul with “anger,” “rage” and “silence.” Victor, the town baker, is “docile.” Jeanne, a young insomniac translator, enters this world following a chance meeting with an old acquaintance, Gabrielle. This quartet of characters may behave in believable ways, but they remain patently fictive, manipulated by strings of adjectives.
Equally problematic is the secondary timeline, largely devoted to detailing a moose’s last hours. The interest in cutting up the main action with fast-forwards to the death throes of the sad and majestic moose would be to add weight to the story. However, this cannot be achieved with a ready-made symbol and little linguistic variation. While The Whole Night Through explores a spare, pure style, the result is a generic text that takes few chances.
If The Whole Night Through succeeds in any respect, it is certainly in its clarity and readability. mRb