In Pinelight

Thomas Rayfiel. Northwestern Univ., $18.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-8101-5236-6
In Rayfiel's latest (Time Among the Dead), an unnamed man sits in a retirement home answering the questions of an unnamed interviewer. We never hear directly from the interviewer but learn that he is someone from the speaker's past. Over the course of the interview, the story of Conklingville, a town now flooded beneath a lake, emerges. Rayfiel breathes life into the residents of the town using thoughtful, minimally punctuated prose. From birth to death to strange rebirth as a lakeside community, the narrator stumbles through his shattered memories of this town, returning again and again to an image of someone spreading ashes over the lake from a boat. Each time we are told it is someone else's funeral. The novel ultimately explores the development and abandonment of our collective histories and the eventual depletion of those histories. Rayfiel's experimental language coupled with the enigmatic points in the plot intentionally evoke uncertainty and confusion in the reader. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/23/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
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