Oct 25, Janet rated it it was amazing I happen to really like associational books, books built of fragments and images and repetitions, which build themselves in their accumulation in your head rather than as a linear narrative, and AVA is a classic--a passionate and well-travelled, well-read, sensual woman, a singer, a writer, a teacher of comparative literature, dying at 39 of a rare blood disease, as she dreams back through her life in phrases and images. It requires a bit of detective work to tease out who these images are I happen to really like associational books, books built of fragments and images and repetitions, which build themselves in their accumulation in your head rather than as a linear narrative, and AVA is a classic--a passionate and well-travelled, well-read, sensual woman, a singer, a writer, a teacher of comparative literature, dying at 39 of a rare blood disease, as she dreams back through her life in phrases and images. It requires a bit of detective work to tease out who these images are describing and to layer them into three dimensions as the book goes along-- that the first husband, Francesco, was a filmmaker and her true match, a relationship that drowned in promiscuous sexuality of both parties. It is to this husband her thoughts return and return. He says we have forgotten how to be American. We took photographs, though photographs were not allowed.
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From her hospital bed on this, her last day on earth, she makes one final ecstatic voyage. The voices of her three former husbands emerge: Francesco, a filmmaker from Rome; Anatole, lost in the air over France; Carlos, a teenager from Granada. The ways people she loved expressed themselves in letters or at the beach or at the moment of desire return to her. There is Danilo, her current lover, a Czech novelist, and others, lovers of one night, as she sings the endless, joyous, erotic song cycles of her life, because "Dusk and the moment right before shapes are taken back is erotic.
And the dark". The voices of her literary loves as well are woven into the narrative: Woolf, Eliot, Nabokov, Beckett, Sarraute, Lorca, Frisch, among others. These writers comment on and help guide us through the text. We hear the voices of her parents, who survived the Treblinka death camp, and of her Aunt Sophie, who did not.
Hers is the voice of pleasure, of astonishment, the voice of regret, the voice of gratitude as she moves closer and closer to the "music that is silence".
Ava is an attempt, in the words of French feminist philosopher Helene Cixous, "to come up with a language that heals as much as it separates". The fragments of the novel are combined to make a new kind of wholeness, allowing environments, states of mind, and rhythms not ordinarilyassociated with fiction to emerge. Ava yearns and the reader yearns with her, struggling to hold on to all that slips away. I came to praise", Ava says, and on every page she does just that - marveling at the mystery of her precious, disappearing life: the pressure of the tide, the sea-soaked steps, wild roses and rose hips, the finches at the feeder, the way the swing swung.
A beautiful, passing landscape. Imagined in the dark". But labeling it "avant-garde" or
Biography[ edit ] She received a B. Her first published novel was Ghost Dance, which appeared in Her best-known novel is probably Defiance, published in She is a professor of literary arts at Brown University , where she has taught since , and has previously held positions as a writer-in-residence at Illinois State University in —92 and George Washington University in —93, as well as teaching writing at Columbia University in A forthcoming novel, The Bay of Angels, incorporates various narrative types—essay, memoir, prose poems, and even graphics—and represents nearly 15 years of work.