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342 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 seemingly 'good' protagonists' actions with Findley's political stance. On the one hand, Bailey argues, Findley's novels hold out the promise of a counter-discourse; on the other, they are deeply pessimistic because they remain paradoxically aware that plotting, or the writing of narrative, violently imposes 'an order on events to create that c01.U1ter-diseourse.' Simply put, meaning lean only be secured if other possible meanings are "killed" along the way.' The book concludes with a sobering consideration of what it means to write in an age that comes after Auschwitz. For Findley, whose understanding of evil was brought home by photographs of Daehau, it necessitates wrestling with one's complicity with and attraction to fascist discourse. As Findley's texts illustrate and Bailey's study skilfully reminds us, on one level, the photographs taken by Moffat - aesthetic images that frame, simplify , and record meaning - are part of the same machinery that facilitated the crime. (MARLENE GOLDMAN) Anne Geddes Bailey and Karen Grandy, editors. Paying Attention: Critical Essays on Timothy Findley ECW Press. viii, 222. $ 15.95 Subdividing this collection into three main areas relevant to Findley'S work, namely narrative, myth, and performance, Bailey and Grandy present a series of nine new critical studies of some of Findley's most famous works as well as of some of his less famous ones. The focus of these essays ranges from Findley's early work, such as his 1956 short story'About Effie/ his 1967 novel The Last of the Crazy People and his much-neglected novel The Butterfly Plague, to some of his plays, and his later and best-known fiction, including Can You See Me Yet?, The Stillborn Lover, Headhunter, and The 'Piano Man's Daughter. Each ofthe three sections contains three essays, some of which stand out for their originality and for offering new readings of his works. In particular, Catherine Hunter's study of findley'S work in the 19605, in the first section devoted to narrative, explores the very act of narrating in Findley's early short fiction, The Last ofthe Crazy People and a television script, 'The Paper People.' Hunter sees an anxiety in these early texts that manifests itself at the opening of a narrative. Such anxiety, she explains, does not refer to the man Findley, but rather to the movement of the narrative itself. Hunter argues that Findley characterizes the moment at which narrating begins with naIve narrators, false starts, and violence. She goes on to expand on these three types of narrative opening and explains that often the beginning of the narrative in Findley's earlier works is linked with a loss of innocence, usually in the form of a troubled adolescent's fall from childhood, which constitutes the narrative movement. Other times, HUMANITIES 343 she continues, Findley begins his novels with a scene that is repeated later in the book, and, finally, she points out the repetition in novel after novel of a story that begins with violence. Regarding this last point, Hunter notes that violence is the impetus that originates the narration, but she also sees in it the possibility that the beginning of writing, in particular, is a form of violence. Starting from Derrida's use of writing as a metaphor for investigating the split between signified and signifier, thought and word, and intention and meaning, and from D.A. Miller's study of narrative, Hunter takes the notion of the violent act of narrating and interprets it as the pivotal moment at which the desire to narrate is frustrated by the ineffability of the stories to be narrated. She explains this unnarratability with the fact that what is ineffable in the story is often taboo and impenetrable for the innocent adolescent. What allows the UlUlarratable to be narrated is the loss ofinnocence. To explain this point, Hunter parallels this downfall from the innocence of childhood into adulthood with ancient Greek tragedy, where the narrative movement of tragedy has traditionally been described as a decline from a superior state. This parallel is particularly effective in her analysis of Cassandra, the protagonist of Findley's first published play, Can You See Me Yet...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 342-343
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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