cover image I Don’t Think of You (Until I Do)

I Don’t Think of You (Until I Do)

Tatiana Ryckman. Future Tense, $12 trade paper (110p) ISBN 978-1-892061-81-2

Ryckman’s reflective novella unfolds in 100 tiny, often forlorn chapters, each micro-numbered (from 0.1 to 10.0) and given a page of its own. Through this, form and content merge, as the narrator attempts to absorb the lessons of a failed long-distance relationship and, in turn, understand herself. Some chapters are memories, both lovely—“the corners of your mouth twitching into a smile, you looked at me as if we were already irreversibly intertwined”—and painful—“I remember most clearly the queasy, persistent optimism.” More often, they are judgments or discoveries, made in hindsight, that there was an undercurrent of doubt or impending breakup from the start. “I did an excellent job of disappearing,” the narrator says. “As I tend to do.” The affair goes from first blush, when she, but not he, dares to call it love, through the tiny disillusionments that pile up despite her attempts to ignore them, to the slow disintegration of the affair: “And while neither of us could put our finger on why, the evening got worse from there.” The isolation of each individual entry underscores this haunting story from beginning to end. (Sept.)