Saturday, February 11, 2012

MFA Greensboro Alum Kelly Link Featured in The Year of Magical Reading

The Year of Magical Reading: Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
    
by Ted Gioia

Magic for BeginnersSomeone ought to write a history of literary misdirection—the story of the stories that avoid telling stories, the tales that set out towards a goal and never quite get there.  We think of this as a postmodern conceit, but its roots can be traced in Tristam Shandy, Don Quixote, perhaps even back to Apuleius's The Golden Ass.  At an extreme, such narratives end right wherethey begins—FinnegansWake is the classic example—and remind me of thoselong distance runners whocircle round and round onthe same route, never going
anywhere except back to thestarting line.  Readers oftengripe at these roundaboutstories, yet even a closedloop can offer an enticingjourney if the landmarks and milestones are sufficiently compelling.

Kelly Link has made her reputation on precisely this kind of narrative.   She knows an endless number of ways to prevent her stories from reaching a destination.   In "Lull," the final tale in her 2006 collection,
Magic for Beginners, she interrupts the narrative with a story within a story—then a few pages later, starts up another story within that story.   One might think that these would serve as sufficient obstacles to achieving narrative closure—but Link, emulating the famous aviator Wrong Way Corrigan, goes a step further, presenting the chronology of the central story in reverse (akin to Martin Amis's Time's Arrow), an approach that ensures that readers can only end up back at the beginning. 

Read the full article here: http://conceptualfiction.com/magic_for_beginners.html

Find out more about the MFA Writing Program here:http://mfagreensboro.org

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