“Sometimes — usually when the sleepy sensation of skin touching skin seems of itself to hold some sort of mute insufficient promise — she still hopes that he might somehow start to understand her. The trouble is, she is unable to help feeling that it just doesn’t work like that — that if he does not understand her instinctively then trying is pointless, even if it were possible. It just makes the whole situation seem so arbitrary — and if it seems arbitrary how is she to have faith in it? Why him, in other words? Why not someone else?”
OK, also: or she in him. But the book is mostly told from James’s point of view. And a secondary story, of Katherine’s marriage — at the time of the book, in the midst of a separation — shows those things that are missing from the current foregrounded love story, all the reasons for the affair. And I don’t think that it’s just that the failed marriage is a completed narrative arc; instead, I think that there’s context in the retelling of that relationship that does not get coded into Katherine and James’s story, and that the resulting context-less pursuit is intentional.
January 24, 2012, 11:00am Comments