USEREVIEW 067 (Capsule): Disintegration in Four Parts

Hollay Ghadery/ March 2, 2022/ Book Review, Capsule Review

Jean Marc Ah-Sen, Emily Anglin, Devon Code and Lee Henderson
Disintegration in Four Parts (Coach House Books, 2021)
ISBN 978-1-55245-424-4 | 206 pp | $21.95 CAD — BUY here


Starting with the sentence, “all purity is created through resemblance and disavowal,” Disintegration in Four Parts by Jean Marc Ah-Sen, Emily Anglin, Devon Code and Lee Henderson explores the notion of purity in four novellas that are distinct in terms of narrative style, but harmonious in their meta-artistic approach.

The first piece by Henderson, ‘Merz in the Arctic Circle,’ is a haunting fictional interpretation of the time Dada artist Kurt Schwitter spent interned in Norway during WWII. Using quippy dialogue and surprising metaphor, Henderson creates a fantastically unsettling world from the fragments of the characters’ lives.

‘Dissolving Views’ by Emily Anglin offers an evocative examination of the relationship the protagonist has with her two siblings and considers the way in which people in our lives come in and out of focus in response to our own internal landscape.

Jean Marc Ah-Sen’s ‘Parametrics of Purity’ is a sophisticated piece of metafiction, which — while playfully circling around a relationship between two writers of opposing theoretical views — encourages us to consider the purity of artistic creation (if there is in fact any).

Finally, ‘The Green Notebook’ by Devon Code is composed of the notebook excerpts of an elderly woman. Nearing the end of her life, she asks if art is truly a way to reduce suffering, offering a provocative examination of what we know, and what we can know.

Recommended excerpt:

Read notebook excerpt 9.08 (p. 181) from Code’s ‘The Green Notebook’ for an intriguing, mind-tickling look at how the power of imagination and analogy — and how that power shifts as we grow older.

Hollay Ghadery is a writer living in small-town Ontario. She has her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Her fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in various literary journals, including CAROUSEL, Grain, Room, The Antigonish Review, The Fiddlehead and The Malahat Review. Her memoir on mixed-race identity and mental health, Fuse, came out with Guernica Editions’ MiroLand imprint in spring 2021.

Share this Post