In the Language of Love: 8a Novel in 100 Chapters

Diane Schoemperlen, Author Viking Books $23.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-670-86517-8
Joanna is a collage artist, an appropriate calling for the protagonist of one of the finest montages of language to head south from Canada since Margaret Atwood's Surfacing. In her first novel, Schoemperlen (author of The Man of My Dreams, 1990, and three other story collections) has taken 100 words from the 1910 Kent-Rosanoff Word Association Test and used each as a chapter title. The result is an elegant pastiche of forms that conveys-in non-chronological free-association-the story of Joanna's everywoman life. Unlike Joanna, who ``begins to see her life in sections... so that [except for her parents] none of the characters from one stage leak forward into the next,'' the narrative bleeds across time: one chapter tells of all the houses Joanna has lived in or has wanted with the three loves of her life. These men are Henry, a guitar-playing truck driver; Lewis, her married lover, an artist who compartmentalized well enough to work on several paintings at once; and Gordon, the man she married. Most poignant, however, perhaps are the vignettes with Joanna's father and son. Widower Clarence seems to take his bitter wife's death as ``the end of possibility''; Joanna's young son, Samuel, filters word and meaning with the same nimble clarity as his mother. With this novel, Schoemperlen triumphantly establishes her literary credentials. 25,000 first printing; $25,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/29/1996
Release date: 02/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 48 pages - 978-0-14-025238-5
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-101-17705-1
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-101-17597-2
Hardcover - 350 pages - 978-0-00-647949-9
Hardcover - 350 pages - 978-0-00-224373-5
Ebook - 350 pages - 978-1-4434-0108-1
Paperback - 350 pages - 978-0-00-648544-5
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