BLOWN FIGURES by Audrey Thomas


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Here's Isobel again, still humming the same old Songs My Mother Taught Me (1973) while she tries to come to ultimate grips with that miscarriage Mrs. Blood sustained back in 1970. Isobel has demons whispering into her suburban ear which cause her to travel by plane, ship and imagination to West Africa in order to locate her fetus and work through her guilt via witchcraft. In order to keep your sensibilities thoroughly dislocated, Thomas interleaves not only the obligatory flashbacks but also nursery rhymes, anthropological data, news items, weather reports, cartoon panels, sundry ads for little kidney pills or skin lighteners and large headlines with portentous content. Nevertheless this is neither a convincing portrait of individual schizophrenia or the universal sexual trials of womanhood. Gaps and inconsistencies do not make an absurdist fiction. The stereopticon effects are not experimental per se but simply an opportunistic use of literary maquillage to cover a wispy narrative. Isobel remains a very tedious petitioner who cannot achieve your sympathy even after her story sinks into utter primeval chaos and--woe of Laingian woes--""the witches have eaten up [her] kra.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Knopf