FIND HIM! by Elaine Kraf


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So great are the handicaps Elaine Kraf sets out for herself in this obsessional and obtuse novel that you might want, despite everything, to cheer her over. Everything includes a semi-catatonic narrator who's living a ""shallow filmy eggshell existence"" with a huge-eared, unwashed, history-scribbling lug named Oliver who has toilet-trained her, slept with her, taught her French, and in his spare time constructed a mechanical duplicate of someone named Edith who deserted him at some point in the past. Everything also means coming to terms with dialogue that either consists of one-word commands like ""Eat"" and ""Wash"" and ""Chew"" or miscellaneous moans: ""OOOOaaah"" or ""Geeeh."" And it involves generously granting the possibility that Kraf is writing an allegory of normal love: ""the year of the plaid skirt, the year of the violet dress, and the year of Oliver's crisis."" But fair's fair--and for each dispensation a reader allows, the reward comes up mingy and without thanks; Kraf, stuffing her book with snatches of her own musical compositions, drone poetry, drawings of giraffes, Works out of a momentum so private it seems almost impolite to enter--and as soon as it becomes clear that Find Him! is more a dare than plea, the wish to cheer for this underdog book disappears.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Fiction Collective--dist. by Braziller