29 August 2007

Mullen's Murmur

Quick notes being all I’m capable of at the moment, here’s one about a terrific book (I’ll even call it a novel) I read over the summer. I’m not yet convinced writers who write primarily poetry can produce interesting narrative, but Mullen manages to ask the questions in fascinating, skillful and elegant ways. I’m quite interested these days in the tensions between individual moments (sentences, images, glimpses) and the larger (external?) demands of narrative, and Mullen’s book seems to worry similar knots and problems. She works the questions of genre so rigorously and authentically that I begin to imagine the as yet untapped possibilities of liminal prose (or at least I begin to imagine such possibilities as positive, and drop my ‘neither fish nor fowl’ objections). Still, I have some investment in calling this a novel, as the language refuses to refuse narrative momentum, refuses to rely on (mere) revelation, and offers instead a dark and obscuring tale, at once familiar (a murder mystery) and deranged. Delicious.