Friend of mine recently found a 1975 copy of Gary Snyder’s Turtle Island in a Goodwill store. Inside a woman named Paula had written a quote (actually the ending paragraph) from The Lover by Duras and then this note to Jon:
You were my birthday present; you came to the door–no one else was home. you said “let’s celebrate.” We dropped acid and went to the friend with the nocturnal monkey-like animal and made love for hours.
FOUND: A printout of what appears to be most of a short story, with parenthetical comments not hand-written but apparently typed into the document before it was printed out. Document pages are not numbered. There is no title or author name or critic’s name or any other identifying marks. The document was found by this agent, at a restaurant a few blocks south of NYU.
All things considered, it seems wrong to have more than a wee bit of fun with this, but a wee bit never hurt anybody, right?
The unravelling aspect of the piece is perfectly timed. The change in Howard’s attitude toward his mother’s situation is not sudden; it builds up slowly, each negative thought concerning Suzette’s appearance erasing her hold on matters. Edith is manipulative, but subtly so. That she is probably as physically frail as Suzette never really becomes an issue; such is her grip on Howard. There are many wonderful comic phrases throughout and plenty of fresh observations, such as the anthropodal patellas and the hilarious notion that obesity offends Suzette, but an obese irresponsible pet owner is more egregious. The only thing I might add is that while the attitudinal changes arise purposefully and come at correct intervals, the actual visit to Edith’s seems quite long. I enjoyed every paragraph, however, so it may not be such a pressing concern.