Kim Rosenfield’s Trama is her first book since the award-winning Good Morning—Midnight— of 2001. Trama is both a festive and a frightening book—Rosenfield has the quiet tones of Geppetto’s Workshop, the mummery of harlequinade, and the terror of the giant swallowing fish. Trama, she says, “embodies a child’s tale but redesigns it to pit the mistranslated circus of personal ambition against public episodes of wronged military might. Trama is slippery too: it is upended and equipped with reflectors, so that the reader seems to be looking straight ahead, but is really peering down and in to a shadow-box picture of an Italian hill town. Trama should be thought of as being carried by two itinerant showmen, in a big flat box.”
narrates the trajectory of “an
unluxurious piece of wood” in a unique
language whose inflections have an exhilarating
effect. Her Trama is a dance of the elements
charged with a keen sense of the absurd.
Put this on
the shelf (oh but please take it off again)
next to Ashbery’s Girls
on The Run, the book-length proses of Carla
Harryman and Stacy Doris, and your DVDs of
Guy Maddin, L’Atalante and Wladyslaw
Starewicz’s The Mascot—fairy
tales creepier to adults who know a thing
or two about “ammonia and advice,” and
perhaps less about keeping balance in a world
of eternal, Buffy-style recurrence. Rosenfield’s
part collage, part suede and suave therapeutic
technique creates a “voice” that
wavers, furtive yet spikily resonant in the
amplified tick of the second hand, as the
carnal “self” is further contaminated
by the freezer-burn of a world run by patents,
portents, and hawkish impatience, yet begs
to extend its lease with the mirror stage.
Read this book for its honey and ash, and
comedic tale is one of terroristic proportions,
like a Cocteau film sent through
the tortuous digestives of a black widow's
belly… “Was it borne of someone?” While
the “poor little guys” and “little
dear ones” act steadily to sublimate
the violently enchanting surroundings, the
scene somehow becomes all the more de-sublimated.
How does this happen? What a predicament!
Kim Rosenfield’s narrative circuits
take us on a romp through the psychic forms
of our “civilian” lives. “Dear
men, my lines.” Dear reader, step lively!