USEREVIEW 030 (Capsule): The Work
The Work (Stonehouse Publishing, 2020)
ISBN 978-1-988754-16-1| 264 pp | $19.95 CAD
It’s called The Work but reading Maria Meindl’s debut novel couldn’t be farther from a slog. The story hovers over the shoulder of stage manager Rebecca Weir, who works for an experimental theatre company that may or may not be a cult. As the eclectic and shifting cadre of artists devote themselves to breath work and movement exercises and overly-intimate relationship dynamics, Meindl steps deftly between forms — the time-hopping but relatively traditional prose narrative is delightfully juxtaposed with personal professional websites, IMDB entries, Rate My Professor quotes, confessional emails from a character to a doctor, and more. Such tricks could feel gimmicky but in Meindl’s skilled hands these diverse forms both develop the characters and control the pace of the book, like well-placed and meaningful pauses in a swelling monologue you can’t help but get swept up in.
See the email from Amanda to Dr. Charbonneau (pp 48 – 49) to get a sense of how poetically much Meindl can convey in the space of fewer than two pages.