WASH ME ON HOME, MAMA
Книга "WASH ME ON HOME, MAMA"
Авторы: Pete Najarian
And above all, Pete Najarian, of whose “Wash Me On Home, Mama” one wants to cry, Perfect! One puts down the book with rinsed eyes and clear heart. How does it happen? Formally the novel is simple: a few pages at a time devoted to the inner moments of a handful of characters living loosely together in a sort of commune, a line to indicate forward movement drawn lightly by an italicized paragraph between each section. The sensation is strangely and liberatingly of space, created by rhythm perhaps, the timing of one quality of thought and being and then another. This is not the device familiar as “multiple points of view mutually commented upon, criticizing, and reducing one another. Something new is happening here. The completeness and validity of each heart and mind opens world on world moving in free relations to each other. Yes, here, in this book, is the dance. These characters are given to us below the level of their self-conceptualizing. There is no surface to cut through or interpret: these characters have simply to be known, not outguessed: they are seen and shown without the defenses, self-deceptions, self-fantasizing that comprise ego and what we are accustomed to think of as personality. The mail girl eating her peanut butter sandwich in the box during the rain, a man’s sudden terror at nightfall walking his dogs, the secret pleasure of manure in the garden, the kitchen before anyone’s awake, the girl putting in her earrings before she sets out for her abortion, the dream of fresh bread—it is not only the precision of the moments, the transparency of language (one is wholly unaware also of Najarian himself), but that a spring is touched where everything is still pristine, significant, free, even the terrible (the political prisoner overseas, the failed commune, the broken loves, the unhappy child, the polluted bay), for all its modesty and even, judging from Najarian’s covering paragraph, fiction takes a new turn in the little volume. Qualities we have come to think essential to the novel are unimportant if present at all, and what we have given up as impossible—space, light, air, time, joy—flower, not in the text but in the reader. The invocations to home and the sea that keep the beat are appropriate, for a locus of perception has been found where the heart is at home. This is quiet and consummate art, to be read like a piece of music slowly and luxuriously and then over again. (Harriet Adams Transue, associate professor and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Toledo. For The American Book Review, 1981)
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