Abstract

ABSTRACT:

Scholarship on contemporary seriality, often focusing on television, comics, and games, emphasizes speed as a key element of our experience of such works. In contrast, some contemporary novelists are experimenting with what I call "suspended seriality": the appearance of a sequel after considerable real time and story time have elapsed. The effects of such a sequel may appear to be linked to nostalgia, but Roddy Doyle's suspended sequels, Paula Spencer (2006) and The Guts (2013), demonstrate that the form is not tied primarily to a longing for the irrecoverable but rather provides a particularly hospitable framework for narratives of actual recovery. As Doyle's protagonists enter recovery from cancer, alcoholism, and the trauma of spousal abuse, continuity of character, place, and narrative style help to establish the illusion of an extended present that balances a potentially threatening pull toward closure. Drawing on work by Laurie Langbauer, James Phelan, Robyn Warhol, Ed Wiltse, and Kay Young, I argue that the progression of the suspended sequel depends on the characters' serial behaviors, which convey a sense of the inexhaustibility of the everyday, creating time for the often slow and nonlinear process of recovery. Among these serial behaviors is the joking and teasing conversation characteristic of Doyle's dialogue-heavy novels, which resists the teleology of plot even as it establishes a nurturing intimacy among the characters and guides readers' judgments and affective experience of the novels. Suspended seriality can facilitate narratives of recovery and offer insight into the range and reach of seriality more generally.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1538-974X
Print ISSN
1063-3685
Pages
pp. 1-20
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-01
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.