Friday, April 10, 2009

Review of Living in Reverse by Kate Blakinger

Living in Reverse (published by Vestal Review and available online)

Kate Blakinger offers us an excellent example of a non-narrative flash. Virtually nothing happens in this piece. The only in-scene action we have is where the unnamed woman takes Polaroid photos of her children and names the one June. The rest of the action is rather non-specific in terms of when it occurs.

The title is curious as the woman is not, in fact, living in reverse but wants to live in reverse. The final paragraph is interesting in the wonderful description of a possible life lived in reverse. The life of one of the children, backed up to the moment prior to conception where the woman's lover moans her name.

The writing in this piece is quite strong and I was drawn in by the first sentence. However, I found the second sentence rather hard to swallow - it felt tacked on, somehow. Coming from the humor and accessibility of the first sentence to the stark, simple, and hard-to-believe second sentence was somewhat jarring and I almost stopped reading.

However, I found this to be an interesting flash showing me something about identity, desire, and the loss we sometimes incur as a result of progress.

I find Ms. Blakinger to be an interesting writer and I am curious to find more of her work in the future.

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