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Powerful intertwining of dichotomies
on August 28, 2012
The Novelist's main character describes her relationship with a poet friend as "more of a thing and less of a thing," saying that "to express it this way made no sense, yet it made perfect sense to Laura." This powerful intertwining of seeming dichotomies characterizes the narrative of L.L. Barkat's debut fiction release.
Laura, an ad copy writer who's never finished even a short story, is challenged by an acquaintance on Twitter to write a novel in an impossibly short time. Along the way, she embarks on a process of discovering herself, the strength of her own center, and the power of both yes and no.
Barkat seamlessly weaves a compelling plot with alluring poetry, truth with fiction, and even profound micro-studies in relationships and the writing craft. Readers of Barkat's previous books will find The Novelist a departure from her earlier work, not simply in genre, but also in what they think they know of the author. In an intriguing sense fitting for the story itself, the transition feels subtle, as though the unexpected comes to be in a very expected sort of way.
The Novelist is the sort of book that leaves you tempted to let the water boil away on the stove while you read just one more page, until you find yourself unexpectedly at THE END. Which, of course, is where the book began. I highly recommend starting there, and reading it again, and again.