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Pickle Me This

July 6, 2008

Flirt by Lorna Jackson

My review of Lorna Jackson’s Flirt: The Interviews will be a mini review, because I really feel I ought to read it again. And perhaps one more time after that, Jackson’s linguistic acrobatics and underlying humour not immediately so easy to get one’s head around. But I post about it now because you should know about it, about its remarkable conceit. One that I was interested in immediately, as a person who reads interviews and aspires to write them (well). Jackson’s stories playing tricks with the form, playing tricks on the form, tricks on the reader too with fiction and fact.

Lorna Jackson’s unnamed interviewer is far more interested in plumbing her own depths than anybody else’s. Throughout the book she (fictionally) interviews characters including Ian Tyson, Bobby Orr, Alice Munro, Janet Jones-Gretzky. The book’s best line (though there could be many of these) being, “Jesus, Alice. I’m so sick of that anecdote. Can’t you give me something better?”

Our interviewer is suffering from a much-broken heart, a long-ago loss, a mixed-up today and unsure tomorrows. Seeking counsel in those she is supposed to be examining, much digressing, even her real questions shaded by her personal experience. She becomes a character, the entire book encompassing a sort of trajectory. Each interview standing alone as a most innovative kind of short story, relying on language alone for effect.

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