Anne Carson’s latest book, Red Doc>, might not be for everyone: it mostly flows down the middle of the page in a heterodox column of text; it confuses syntax in confused situations; it doesn’t always finish its sentences. But confusion can also move deeply (as in this extract). In the second and third lines, memories pile up and correct themselves, in shock, without commas: the boy, now man, first knows then knew. Time has passed, his lover has changed, but the memories of throwing “your soul through every door” seem to surprise him in their intensity, and the break-up is still sudden: it is only afterwards that he/they realize there was no longer any place for touching. It was over, like the unfinished sentence, “Take my.” This is surely closer to how we as humans really feel: the difficulty of expressing past emotion lies in unfinished, not complete sentences.
Red Doc> continues Carson’s reworking of the Geryon myth started in Autobiography of Red (I haven’t read this—perhaps a cold review of a sequel is inadvisable), resituating the red winged herdsman-monster from Greek myth as a modern gay man, G. In the book, G’s ex-lover, Sad, returns traumatized from war; they meet again; they head north with a friend, Ida; G visits his mother as she is dying. In quests or road narratives, a brief summary like this is overly simplistic but accurate; a brief summary like this is unavoidable; a brief summary like this is impossible. Read more of this post