Monday, 8 April 2013

A Novel that has No Words

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cover image © copyright Veronika von Volkova
Evie and Guy: a novel with no words.
When we tell the story of a relationship, we, and it, are judged by what we omit. By design, by ignorance, or just because there are only so many pages and so much time, the blank spaces tell a story every bit as true, as rich, and as important as the print marks meandering through them. Acknowledging that truth, Evie and Guy is the history of a relationship told through the white space of the protagonists’ most solitary act. It comprises simply of the dates, times, and duration in seconds (bracketed where the act was interrupted or unclimactic) of every act of masturbation in their lives. Our lives are so full of joy, despair, individual triumphs and tragedies so vivid they want to scream at the world until they are imprinted there forever in their splendour. But the moment we begin to tell our stories they become trapped in the dullness of a language constructed to reduce our joyful individuality to the whisper of restrained uniformity. I want to unpick the chains of language that keep each one of our stories prisoner within a patriarchal colonial prison outside of which we cannot conceptualise ourselves until we can conceive and express ourselves in ways that preserve the glorious individuality of each human spirit. Writing Evie and Guy, I wanted my shackles as author, my commentary on Evie’s life, to be utterly absent so that her life might have every space it is possible to afford it to speak on its own terms, and might also be lived anew with each reading. After four novels and countless poems and short stories, years of experimenting and thinking, this is finally the book I have always wanted to write, both older woman/younger man heartbreaking love story and contribution to the building of a poetics of hope.