From Publishers Weekly
Mike teases Sal about her hair and her shadowy shoulders./ He calls her his 'dirty little iceball' and she smiles that he loves her enough to name her." Debts to previous genre-busting metafiction and metapoetry, and a persistent interest in the physical properties of a book, are pulled through a winningly feminist sensibility in this remarkable debut. A set of nine discrete poetic essays, post-modern myths, apparently-unactable theatre-pieces, versified diaries, extended jokes and fictional experiments (along the tonal lines of Gillian McCain and others) add up to, as the Kandinsky epigraph describes it, "a new, independent life in accordance with its own laws." "Seven Veils," from which the opening quote is taken, uses long lines to tell the semi- or pseudo-story of a teenager who happens to be a comet as she careens brilliantly through "dummies," "governments," "households," animals and rites of passage. Heavily indebted to Wittgenstein, "A\1" interweaves the thoughts of an analysand with ideas about other situations, among them that of a cat in a famous philosophical quandary. "The Compass Room" experiments with perspectivism, multiple narrators and vague settings, in a way readers of John Barth will recognize: "Each book has a title and all chapters have numbers," it opens. "Walking" tries to recreate the moment-by-moment perceptual experience of a walker in a city, scattering phrases, lists, associations and sentences all over its 23 pages, in an ambitious update of late-model New York School verse. "Hours" is a postmodern parody of a play-script, with impossible stage directions for "Microbes" and "Whales." While the methods of proceeding are familiar, the characters and results are not, making this wonderfully varied first book a real pleasure. (Apr.)
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A fascinating tour de force...an often vital exploration of time, intimacy, daily life and American social history. -- The Cafe Review, Annie Seikonia, Summer 2000
Between the inward tension of the point and the outward push of the line, Thalia Field maps a force field of relations, power games, shifting configurations. In a language both cool and intense, and with a surveyor's precision. But for all the geometries, we are irresistibly pulled towards the center, the emotion which cannot be stated or described, only surrounded, so that the real story happens in the consciousness of the reader. -- Rosmarie Waldrop
Field has created a playground of provocative thoughts and human actions which become performance on the page. -- How2 (Alerts), Catherine Kasper, Fall 2000
Field has left many doors, hallways, and rooms that other writers may not have previously been able to see. -- Review of Contemporary Fiction, Paul Maliszewski, Fall 2000
To invent new structures within which it may be possible to speak what could not previously be spoken... -- Rain Taxi Review of Books, Kim Fortier, Summer 2000