book review: the naked eye

I liked The Naked Eye (another Yoko Tawada book) quite a bit. It’s about a Vietnamese girl who goes to East Germany in the late 1980s to give a presentation and then stuff happens. She spends a lot of time in French movie theatres obsessing over an actress and speaking very little. I didn’t look up the actress or the films to see if they exist for real or not. It seemed beside the point on a first reading.

The biggest thing I enjoy about Tawada’s style of writing is the unpredictability. Things spill out in strange directions all the time. If you read the first chapter and the last chapter you would not be able to put together a rough outline of what else happened in the book. Put that way it sounds haphazard, poorly constructed, but it’s not. It careens around in a space you don’t quite understand which the narrator doesn’t understand and suddenly years have passed and she’s going to Saigon through Tokyo to get married. Bewildering is what it all is. I like it a bunch.

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