Camille Bordas short story “The State of Nature” in The New Yorker

I was flummoxed by Camille Bordas short story “The State of Nature” in April 9 2018 The New Yorker. It is clearly a very formal exercise. There is something about the syntax or the paragraph construction that could be understood by writing experts. But not by a non-expert. The story is meta; the narrator directly addresses the reader here and there. Simmons’ girlfriend is initially K.  The cat is Catapult. Rape is hinted at. The protagonist is an ophthalmologist. So “seeing” correctly is a concern. But in the end, the Malian flea market seller says, “It must be hard, not being able to speak, in moments like these.” And the narrator is given a whistle. Her father is a silent hermit. At the end as she walks through the silent empty street, she blows the whistle, and no one comes.

Clearly (to me) an elaborate and complex metaphor. If you are an English major or need a paper topic, study this story! I bet there are connections to Signs and Symbols.

Unusually, the comments at Mookse were not very illuminating.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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