Here’s Where The Story Ends

Humph…Lost Children Archives…what did I just read? First of all, that is the longest sentence I’ve ever seen in my life. Starting on page 319, the only full stop to be found appeared some twenty pages later. I have no choice but to look at this stylistically to try and make sense of what I’ve just finished reading. Long sentences often give the feeling of dragging time, that a minute can last for hours, days even. This thought lasts for 20 pages. I felt anxiety the entire time. No, not due to my overly pedantic nature, a good grammatical challenge makes me happy. But this…what was the point of this?

I feel let down. I enjoyed the portions of the book about nothing: the road trip. I loved how The Boy was telling The Girl about how things were—however, what was the temporal context? Obviously, The Boy is telling The Girl about what happened in the past (the tense changes in the narrative) but are the kids adults now? What was the significance in the change in narrator? I don’t know. Was there a point? And what was the point of the metanarrative, the story within a story. It seems to me that the elegies were the meat and potatoes of the book, the rest were the peas you try to hide under your napkin when no one is looking. If that’s the case, what was the point of the road trip?

How can I enjoy a book that I disliked so much? I did enjoy this book. I can’t honestly say I liked it though. In fact, I would go so far as to say I disliked it. There was no build up. With each turn of the page I hoped to see that Manuela’s girls were reunited with her. But no. She was just a simple side story. Perhaps her kids were in the elegies? But if that happened long before Lost Children Archive were written, how could they possibly be in search for them? It takes months to publish a book, those girls would be long gone.

This book made absolutely no sense to me. I couldn’t place the events on a time line. Sure there was a beginning and a middle. The end never happened though, which was frustrating.

In the context of our course, I am not sure how this book fits in. In fact, so many of the books we covered are such odd examples of books—kinks. Starting with The Squatter and The Don, it seemed as though this book was a history lesson in the form of a novel, which was rather interesting. Then we saw an analysis of legends based on true events in With A Pistol in His Hand. From there we foréed into Nuyorican literature with Down These Mean Streets, which seemed, to me, to be the first normal novel we read…only, it wasn’t a novel. Bless Me Ultima didn’t register well with me and may very well be the first book I ever donate. I will probably reread The House on Mango Street many times over the years, it is easily one of my favourite books I’ve ever read…yet it’s not a traditional book. And then there’s Lost Children Archive, which excited my interest in linguistics and stylistics but left me stranded…lost…for plot. Each one of the books we read had its own kink.

Which brings me to my final thoughts, thoughts that are more difficult to express than I thought they’d be. It has been an honour and a sincere pleasure working with you folks of SPAN 322. I have learned so much from every single person in this class, about literature, about life. I have been and will continue to be inspired by the dynamic that we had for these past few months. Thank you, Jon for your approach to literature. You make it interesting by not herding us down the corral of traditional literary analysis. You encouraged every one of us to emote with no holds barred, which helped me see the way through. Some of the blogs written, I didn’t always agree with, but I learned from every single one of them. And I want to thank each and everyone one of my classmates: Maria, whose work ethic and determination will inspire me for always; Cynthia, whose cheeky sense of humor will always bring a smile to my face; Madison, who showed me that strength and calmness go very well hand in hand; Pamela, with your level head, smile and laugh, you can persevere to accomplish anything; Curtis, well, you are wise beyond your years my friend, your blogs always inspired me to think; Rachel, who apparently hates reading but always finds the good to focus on with such wise words about what we read; Stephanie, whose will and fortitude showed me that passion is important for success; and Aurelien, who despite reading in a language other than your mother tongue, which is my biggest struggle, you inspired me to keep trying and to never give up. Each and every single one of you have touched my life and I will always remember you and this class with the fondest memories. I wish each and every one you the best.

I leave this blog, my last, with a song that punctuates the end our journey this term.

2 thoughts on “Here’s Where The Story Ends

  1. Jon

    Craig, thank you so much for another thoughtful and eloquent post. Again, I should say that I love the way you’ve added videos and music to each one. It’s a personal touch that has complemented our discussions throughout the semester. And I want to thank you for all your contributions to the class from first to last. You thank everyone else (most beautifully), but we equally thank you for all your have brought to us over the semester.

    Here, I think that even in your frustration you have some excellent observations. “The end never happened though, which was frustrating.” Absolutely! But I think this is a feature, not a bug; it’s part of what Luiselli wants to say… that we may think that events and people and even whole eras are dead and buried, erased by history, but in fact we can still somehow catch their echoes and traces. They never fully end, so long as we can learn how to listen to them. That sense that there is no resolution may indeed be frustrating, as you say. But perhaps it can also be a source of hope, of some slight consolation? Just as this class has ended, but as you say the memories will linger, even if they get fainter over time.

    Thanks again.

    Reply

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