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Lines of Flight – Marion Campbell

5 Dec

Lines of Flight, Marion Campbell. Freemantle Arts Centre Press 1985. From The Good Reading: 100 Critics Review Contemporary Fiction compiled by Helen Daniel McPhee Gribble 1989.

An intellectually playful novel which follows the career of Rita Finnerty, an Australian  artist struggling to create a career for herself in France. Campbell’s impressive use of language skillfully followers her narrative so that, as the novel opens, Rita’s artistic and emotional freedom is echoed in the expansiveness of the language which draws in elements of art, literature and contemporary French theory. As Rita finds herself increasingly drawn into a small social circle headed by Raymond, a gay French semiotician, and his two students, Sebastien and Gerard, the novel’s language begins to close in on itself. Pressure builds up until Rita finally attempts to crash through the domestic barriers that have been gradually imposed upon her. At the same time as this narrative explosion, Campbell’s language also explodes violently, creating an unnerving and subtly unsettling conclusion.