The Not Of What She Didn’t Know

by harryjassal

After reading Merideth Quartermain’s list of micro-fictions from The Not Of What She Didn’t Know, felt at first like it was very difficult comprehending to the writing. The Vancouver based poet has work comprised of interesting writings which will make you come out of your shell and think critically. In all of these micro fictions, the setting and atmosphere are thoroughly described and gives the reader a clear understanding once you have read it a few times and let your mind free from a confined space.

An immense part of her work involves different themes; however at the same time she includes many similarities. Her short stories, titled “The Not of What She Didn’t Know” come from Quartermain’s “Recipes From The Red Planet”; a book full of twisting short stories. Furthermore, since her writings are approximately 15-20 lines, readers are immediately indulged to avoid all distractions and focus in on the literature. Her ambiguous writings often creates discussions as to what she is trying to say or imply as shown in “L’amante anglaise”. This micro-fiction uses an unique mixture of english and french; to most this would be a nightmare to read. However one has to think and read outside the box to understand the theme to which Quartermain is trying to portray.

Another one of her micro-fictions is “Hotel Narrative” which was the most difficult to read because of how it has an unclear plot and strange structure. I am not an avid reader however I am certain the majority would agree with me. In addition, Quartermain has one titled “A Disagreement Over Lunch”, in which she uses comparison as her main theme. “The eggplant lifts out of the fruit bowl and floats dejectedly above it”.  This description is another reason why she has interesting writing and creates vivid images in the readers’ mind. In addition, there are many emotional effects her writings have on the reader. For example in “A Disagreement Over Lunch”, it seems like in a strange way, she is comparing ants to tiny humans.

Quartermain’s work is truly different from other authors, and will make even the most experienced readers confused; however this is what makes it so unique and interesting. At first it may seem like you are reading the micro-fictions gradually getting more confused after each line down, however upon a second or third reading, much of the uncertainty is answered.


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