THREE by Ann Quin


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Three is the second of Ann Quin's close, cryptic, neurasthenic, interesting but morosely inbred novels which uses experimental techniques (interchangeable narrators; broken images; fragmented sentences, sometimes altogether disassociated) to suggest what is happening here. Actually very little, since most of it (as in Berg- 1965) is prefatory. As one might assume, the novel deals with three people: L. who translates art books and fertilizes orchids; R., his wife, who has migraines and abscesses, indulges in snatches of baby talk with their cat, and avoids the sexual approaches of her husband; and S., their roomer, who comes there after an unfortunate experience (an abortion). At the beginning S. has disappeared and L. and R. are rather obsessed with her presumed death and its motivation. The reader must be resourcefully intuitive since Miss Quin prefers the symbol to the direct statement; small happenings give way to fantasies, many of them erotic (L and S; R and S; R and L; and the final scene--troilism). She is quite expert, and the household atmosphere, one of reproachful, edgy, nasty irritability is just as unpleasant as it is intended to be.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 1966
ISBN: 1564782727
Publisher: Scribners