chapter  Chapter Eight
34 Pages

Through A Wall Darkly

WithLinda E. Chown

Eve Bertelsen’s observation is particularly appropriate to the articulate novels whose exquisite structure enables them and their authors to stay constructively open. The novels are Retahilas and The Summer Before the Dark, pure persona novels. Persona novels, although occasionally seen as simple amalgams of a retrospective and a present-tense self, actually encourage a denser structure, including “offshoots” of the persona, a complex temporal field. Such is the case in these novels which, according to almost all critics, are the writers’ finest, most difficult structural achievements. Each novel has a particularly intriguing opening chapter establishing the procedure dominating the rest of the novel. The imagistic and structural overlappings described so far gain cumulative intensity and density as the novels proceed. The novels are declaredly autobiographical or novels as autobiography, the latter type in which Caroline Bailey finds a “necessary tension” between author and protagonist.