WE LACK A WORD by A.J. Thibault


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Thibault unearths, generally with success, a series of rhythmic prose that he wrote in 1973.

When Thibault was 22 years old, he wrote this series of poems and rhythmic prose while living in Canada during the recession of the early ’70s toward the end of the Vietnam War. It’s very Great White North; we find draft-dodgers and hockey rather than the baseball and marches on Washington, D.C., that one might find in a similar work from an American author. With plotted randomness, Thibault effectively takes the reader through a year of life, each turn of the page introducing a new friend or family member through short prose pieces or reflections on the world’s wonders. The Vietnam era is experienced both through an amusing anecdote about draft-dodgers as well as more serious musings on World War I. Several pieces with complementary themes are skillfully juxtaposed on opposing pages, such as the prose piece “Self-Awareness” with the poem “Lost.” The author describes the work as experimental, and little has been changed from the original written 35 years ago, but it could have benefited from further revision. The majority of the work is one- to two-page vignettes that create almost a novel in verse and set the reader searching for cohesion among the pieces. The reader forms an attachment to the author/narrator as the parts meld into a story, yet he shows occasional immaturity, which can be attributed to the author’s young viewpoint. Unfortunately, those moments of flowery poetry and stream-of-consciousness rambling distract the reader from an otherwise intriguing window into history.

Inconsistent but still absorbing.

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4303-0824-9
Page count: 2007pp
Program: Kirkus Indie
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