Thursday, October 23, 2008

Zurawski's The Bruise: Reading Notes

Being a continuation of thoughts from my earlier post HERE

It's hard to grasp from a single passage or chapter what Zurawski is doing--how she sets up similes by juxtaposition; as she layers words sentence upon sentence, so ideas are layered in turn, chapter upon chapter. In the passage quoted in my earlier post, the sentence from the essay which the narrator doesn't understand but is compelled to cut out and carry with her are like (the "objective correlative," if you will) the varied memories she has retained in hopes of someday understanding them, that they may eventually come together like a constellation of stars in a figuration of meaning.

I find that I can't read more than a chapter at a time (they are not long). It's too much; I have to pause to assimilate what I've read. There are references to Kafka (her narrator is referred to as M_), to Blanchot, to Rilke (the terrible angel that leaves the bruise) but the strongest presence for me is Virginia Woolf of The Waves. The Bruise won the Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize, and it certainly is not 'Establishment Literary Fiction," but neither does it invite comparison with anything one might label "post modern;" This is rather, an example of what Josipovici might have been thinking of what he wrote of the unfinished project of the modernists. When I say that The Bruise evokes Woolf, I don't mean that she seems to be revisiting what Woolf had done, but that is feels like a continuation of something left unfinished, a project left waiting for someone with the facility for language and the sensibility of Magdalena Zurawski. This book has been the highlight of my year of reading.

You can find a full review on BookSlut and the chapter, "The Bridge" previously published by Shampoo, HERE


  1. OK, you sold it to me. Seems to be exactly what I've been waiting for.

  2. I'll add it to my winter reading list.