Archive for January, 2011

January 31, 2011

by janewong2

After reading Meredith Quartermain’s collection of nanofiction from The Not Of What She Didn’t Know, I was really confused.  But after reading it several more times, I finally understood the themes in these nanofictions.  Quartermain successfully creates pieces that are intriguing and entertaining.  The different pieces in this collection cover many different themes, such as power struggles, conflicts and relationships.  Although Quartermain explores different ideas and themes in each nanofiction, there are also similarities between the pieces.  For example, the characters in all the pieces are never explicitly introduced.  In “Hotel Narrative”, not only are the characters not formally introduced, but the number of characters in that piece is not even clearly established.

Although many of her nanofictions are equally interesting, I found “L’amante anglaise” to be my favourite out of the entire collection.  In “L’amante anglaise”, the plot is fairly straightforward, but the implications behind the text are rather intriguing.  Although this piece is confusing at first glance, especially with all the French terms, but once the theme is made clear, this nanofiction can be very entertaining.  In this nanofiction, the author does not formally introduce the characters but essentially there are two female characters having a conversation, which turns into an argument, but reconciles at the end.

Being a Canadian writer, Meredith Quartermain expresses the theme of Nationalism in Canada with this short nanofiction.  For example, Quartermain interweaves English and French words throughout her piece to depict the bilingualism in Canada.  Quartermain also illustrates the struggles between the French and English speaking communities in early Canadian history by the conversation and the argument the two characters are having.

The first time I read this nanofiction I was very confused because I was unfamiliar with French.  With all the French words infused into the piece, I had no choice but to look up the foreign vocabularies.  Without a doubt, this step was very time consuming.  But on hindsight, the definitions of the French words are not of importance.  What intrigues me is how Quartermain expresses Nationalism by combining English and French to create an overall effect of unity that mirrors Canada’s history.  For a fact, “L’amante anglaise” is a very entertaining piece of writing.  With the alternating English and French words, it easily grabs the reader’s attention.

“L’amante anglaise” can be a hard piece to indulge in with just one reading.  But after grasping the main theme, it is easy to enjoy and appreciate Quartermain’s attempt to add unique twists in her writing.