Blind Spot, by Harold Abramowitz. Civil Coping Mechanisms, August 2016. 166 pages. $15.95, paper.
This book has built a space to wander through. The narrator is going to wander. The reader may follow him, if they so choose. The narrator will not prohibit them from following, nor will he take their hand, nor explain where he’s going, nor why he is looking wherever he’s looking.
This book has built a sense of space through repetition, an expansive space whose vastness only can be realized through wandering around in words, encountering the same landmark, the same moment, the same memory, again and again. How many times have we now seen the bird, the door, the fellow guests? Heard about peace, and convalescence, and a popular song? Possibly many, possibly not very many. It is easy to lose track. To be absorbed into the maze, its winding structure.
I was going to say that this book’s repetition resists change, resists forward movement, performing the cyclical spin of the narrator’s own strange perception; however, in writing, rereading, and re-observing, I realized how wrong this reflection is: Blind Spot is driven by anxious momentum, by a rush of forward movement.
True, this movement may curve round a bend to the past, turn a corner into a dark furrow wherein the narrator, or reader, encounters some mistake in time. But ultimately, its effect is hypnotizingly propulsive, driving us to move on through the maze.
I will not tell you that this book cannot be summarized. It can. But it contains many events, or, rather, possible events, possible openings into which every reader must project their own process of assemblage, their own interpretation.
Blind Spot’s hotel is to its dreamlike, atmospheric narrative what the chateau is to Last Year at Marienbad. And please don’t tell me that you fully know what happens in that film. Because you don’t. You can’t. It doesn’t want you to.
He imagined the two of them talking, or a whole party of people talking. And the hotel. And how pathetic to be a ghost. And those people, the other guests, the staff, the occasional people from the village, they were worse than enemies, they were worse than strangers.
To follow this narrator is to be a fellow ghost. To follow this narrator is to occupy not only the same space as he moves through it, now, whatever now means, but to occupy his past, his present, haunted by his memories.
There is a fire. There was a fire. There is a funeral. There was a funeral. We see it coming, the next chapter of this triptych. But we do not learn new information so much as we receive new details that force us to question our own experience. To re-inhabit moments we have already experienced. To relive moments with a different tinge to our sensation.
And I always wake up screaming, don’t you? I will always remember the screaming. And, if this doesn’t bother you? I’m not imposing myself on you, am I? After all, you were there. You remember, don’t you?
Meghan Lamb is originally from Chicago. She is the author of All of Your Most Private Places (Spork Press), Silk Flowers (Birds of Lace), and Sacramento (Solar Luxuriance). Her work has been featured in Redivider, Passages North, The Collagist, DIAGRAM, Necessary Fiction, and other places.