cover image Angst


Helene Cixous, Author Calder Publications $7.95 (219p) ISBN 978-0-7145-3905-8

This novel by a French feminist is not for readers who like plots and characters clearly defined. Rather, it is for those prepared to take a difficult, dark journey through the mind of an anguished woman in search of herself. Using an enigmatic narrator, Cixous roams deeply into the human psyche to confront death, life, despair, hope, humiliation and abject loneliness. The novel's structure is vague, the tone brooding, relentlessly self-absorbed. A few loose dramatic threads tie the work together. They include a recurring vision linking the narrator's mother and lover (""mother: he-who-loves-me''), and many imagined telegrams to the woman's absent lover, alerting readers to her current state of mind. Cixous's talent lies in her experimental use of language that moves from ellipsis to clarity just as the narrator moves from despair to near-hope. When this novel works, it's poignant; when it doesn't, it's melodramatic. January