‘varieties’ is accurate in that she has several techniques, vaguely constellated around her interests (of translation and epistemology, of ‘deep ideas’ of self).
she’s a great bridge to the Modernists… she’s thinking about them–Kafka, Proust, Beckett, Woolf–throughout, but we hear her thinking in a very contemporary language, one that is constructed and fragmented *from* modernism, a cento of modernism. relatedly: she’s a good mimic. beyond this also, she’s several of her own styles.
the short shorts that worked best for me were those that point to that one vaguely has experienced but has never been able to articulate–and so come with an a-ha! …some however were confounding and i wonder that in these absolutely crucibled forms (the FF) if authors are forced to use personal or limited connotations of language that simply don’t ‘mean’ for everyone, and thereby necessarily create (unintentionally?) obtuse texts…
“The walk” is so far my favorite. at first glance seems a very traditional story–about two people, a proust translator and a proust critic, taking a proustian walk–but reveals itself to be self-commenting, creating a neat and mirrored world (which in itself is an act which comments on proust’s architecture of the two ways). also a beautiful style, wistful.
other longer ones are exhausting and exhaustive thought experiments, some by their exhausting function are similar in their ambitions to sorrentino’s use of the exhaustive list…
by her carefully chosen and paced varieties, she satisfyingly obliterates the dichotomy of show and tell.
“Enlightened,” in entirety:
I don’t know if I can remain friends with her. I’ve thought and thought about it – she’ll never know how much. I gave it one last try: I called her, after a year. But I didn’t like the way the conversation went. The problem is that she is not very enlightened. Or I should say, she is not enlightened enough for me. She is nearly fifty years old and no more enlightened, as far as I can see, than when I knew her twenty years ago, when we talked mainly about men. I did not mind how unenlightened she was then, maybe because I was not so enlightened myself. I believe I am more enlightened now, and certainly more enlightened than she is, although I know it’s not very enlightened to say that. But I want to say it, so I am willing to postpone being more enlightened myself so that I can still say a thing like that about a friend.