Rosaire Appel's Mabel in Her Twenties is a work of delicacy, whimsy, and pathos reminiscent of Gertrude Stein. Punctuated by odd, melancholy photographs of a Victorian interior, Mabel is the story of a peculiar love relationship that concludes in a place as frightening as it is familiar.
In Mabel in Her Twenties, we encounter a young woman moving through a universe of love, friendship, and familial ties. Relationships exist in unfettered flux. For Mabel, the past is as unknowable as the future. Her actions and reactions are impulsive and immediate. The future, for her, merely embodies the unresolved dreams and nightmares of the past, combined with the eccentricities of chance.
"Readers can only delight in the invisible intelligence continually bubbling beneath this brilliantly conceived innovative narrative."—Gail North, Senior Editor, Cosmopolitan
Immediately straightened the station master said once without the roar of ice, surrounded by ice and ice trains. "My travels, he argued, "have nothing beyond them though trains are apt and pretty on Sunday-waiting for me to come home." It was better to point this out than to pry, better to pry than estrange her. Or should he? Nothing about him when words had a train-most were content he suggested. To say yes or no, to smile so that one, unlike all the others, he had told her. She wanted to leave right away. It made no sense to go away if she could go all the way, he insisted. "An adventure?" he offered when she sat down. The bench whose slats were peeling arranged them. She fixed her lips and said many things over which she has said before today, a day unnaturally suited to her. A day that might be public. She would today as she was among them, looking at fate-balanced books in the distance and closing the mirror. He frowned. It was not as if he had told her if. "Don't you want to remember it all?" he had said. His timing and his suspicion. "Instead of limiting, expand," he had told her. They went a ways without crossing. Other materials developed further. History rose up from the back of her life. It was history which would be folded over-an explanation which anyone deserved-which might not be opened again. Nobody turned out all their history, they buried history except for the seeds, a few sprigs, which they knew with good verbs. To make it both convincing and good they lived in adjustable days. She would use what was good and amusing. Could she have what he offered instead? She folded a fan, the train to her liking, a train for duration the station would stretch, how far could one stretch such thin tracks?
Mabel in her Twenties
Mabel in her Twenties