Friday, August 08, 2008

I’d Like

Amanda Michalopoulou’s collection, which I haven’t quite finished, is stunning. Her note says:
My original objective was to write a few short stories to supplement the twenty or so I’ve published here and there in the past few years. When I started to write, the old stories didn’t fit in anywhere—they scurried back to the anthologies they’d come from. So a new objective took shape: to write stories that would read like versions of an unwritten novel. Or, better, to write the biography of those stories as well as of their fictional writer.
An unwritten novel is a very Woolfian thought, and a lovely one. And these stories are linked in brilliant dream-like ways: it’s a pleasure to see the red beret show up in one story, then another, then another, and then “oh, so that body on the hospital gurney was her…” It’s like the lovely coincidences in a Kieslowski movie. But unlike those films, these stories feel deep and finely-crafted. I have the feeling that were I to make a study of them, I would continue to understand how the sisters are related to the mothers, how the daughters are like each other, etc. It’s not just the image of a red beret tossed into the air for effect, it’s the feeling that these lives are tangled in each other, full of ambitions and disappointments, full, in short of the lives of women who want to be artists and are always pulled back by the needs and desires of family, the needs and desires for family.

A picture and a brief bio are here.

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