Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Territory of Light - The Water's Edge

May's chapter of Territory of Light is entitled The Water's Edge and opens with the narrator hearing the sound of water during the night, interestingly with this initial vagueness of description the reader is drawn into contemplating further detail, what is the source of this sound?, is it a dripping sound?, a tidal sea like swooshing?, the prose continues to provoke further enquiry through it's poetical suggestions. The narrator remains unnamed, and in terms of appearance and contact with the characters from the previous chapter not a lot is added to in The Water's Edge. Instead we are introduced to a new character - the narrator's superior at work, Kobayashi, a bachelor, a sense of slight detached eccentricity, the narrator describes their relationship, at this stage it feels that on his part he resembles a paternal like figure for her, she buys his sandwiches at break times, visualizing addressing questions to him for imagined  reassurance toward the end of the chapter, will he turn a potential intervening saviour later?. A call comes through from Fujino in Kobayashi's presence, and we learn that she had initiated the split with him, there's another call again later, potentially him, has he something pressing to tell her?. 

Another character making an appearance, although potentially only for this chapter is a man who has a business on the floor beneath the narrator's apartment who complains about water leaking through spoiling documents, initially there's the enigma arising surrounding the narrator hearing the water during the night that drifts dream like in out of both sleeping and waking consciousness but after investigating she can't detect any leak, how are the complaint of the water and her hearing it linked?, the prose toys with these slight enigmas of daily life that appear to resemble and have a connection to each other but then again turn to come full circle.

The Water's Edge has the quality of a vignette to it, the appearance of the water on the roof, a sense of distant metaphor, the subtle theme of light continues, the luminance shimmering off it's surface and then the blindingness of the newly replaced  waterproof coating of the roof striking the narrator and her daughter, through the prose light equally obscures and brings new developments into focus, the narrator visualizes her life beginning to continue independently from her husband, the differing paths starting to open up. The sequence of events to The Water's Edge appear to be located and unfold in one point of time, it feels like there is less referencing scenes from the past, although there is a retrospective introspection to her, slightly self recriminating at her eagerness to delve into marriage and pregnancy, the fraughtness of her relationship with Fujino bubbles again to the surface, but details of the circumstance of the separation are still held back for the time being, as with the title of the chapter there's a sense of being at the periphery of events. Although brief the chapter expands on exploring how the separation and it's circumstance provoke a transformative power for the narrator, polarities and positions are beginning to shift, to what extent and their affects may take more shape in next months chapter.   

Thanks again go to Penguin, as mentioned in the previous post I've not a read a novel in this way before and very much appreciate being involved in this innovative approach. 

Territory of Light at Penguin Classics           

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