The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry


While reading The Lace Reader I remembered a film we watched in art school. It was Bergman's Persona. I remember thinking two women in the film were in fact one. Out professor explained that one of the film's working titles was Sonata for Two Women. In spite of this I still thought it was only one woman. He let me retain my opinion and said something like: What does Bergman know? What does the author really know about their book? Or what does the reader know?

I found the story a bit slow to develop but it didn't bother me. I was reading it slowly. When I read too quickly, I tend to forget equally quickly. The book takes place in Salem, which is known to me by the witch trials in 17th century. There are modern witches, a sect, religious intolerance, abuse, loss, connection of twins, obsession. And lace reading. Each chapter opens with an excerpt from The Lacer Reader's Guide, a made up manual for an equally made up method of fortune telling. There's a point in lace, called the still point, where past, present and future coexist. There's a similar point in the story when we think that dreams, visions, memories and reality will finally fall into place. But do they?

The story is told by different narrators. The first is Towner, who informs us that her official name is Sophya. She warns us that she lies all the time and we should not believe a word she says. I don't think I took her seriously, I didn't consider this piece of information as something I should be reckoning with throughout the story. When I read what another narrator says about same events, I started thinking what, if anything, is in fact true. I started paying attention to inconsistencies, different interpretations of the same things, names on the headstones spelt wrong (or were they?). Why is the police report different from memories, which are again different from a description of the same event in therapy?

In books things usually fall into their proper places in the end. Well, not in this one, or not entirely. Some things did fall into their places, others we had to put there ourselves. Or we can just let them be. It's what I decided to do, to just let the story be, since I love the ambiguity and openness. This is a book about perception, about different points of view. What the author wrote is her point of view, her characters might have ideas of their own, as well as readers. My reading is just my point of view. Towner' story is her point of view, however she warns us that she lies all the time. What if she doesn't? What if this is a lie as well?


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Ob branju knjige sem se spomnila filma, ki smo ga gledali pri urah estetike na faxu, Bergmanove Persone. Takrat sem mislila, da sta dve ženski pravzaprav ena sama. Profesor je pojasnil, da je bil eden od delovnih naslovov filma Sonata za dve ženski. Kljub temu sem vztrajala, da je samo ena, na kar je profesor odgovoril nekaj kot: kaj pa Bergman ve! Kaj pa avtor v resnici ve o svoji knjigi ali bralec?

Zgodba se dogaja počasi, kar me ni motilo, ravno nasprotno, tudi brala sem počasi. Kadar prehitro preberem, prehitro pozabim. Kraj dogajanja je Salem, ki ga še najbolj poznam po preganjanju čarovnic v 17. stoletju. Opravka imamo z modernimi čarovnicami, sekto, versko netoleranco, zlorabo, izgubo, povezanostjo dvojčkov, obsedenostjo. In z branjem prihodnosti iz čipke. Vsako poglavje se začne z odlomkom iz Priročnika za branje iz čipke, ki si ga je avtorica izmislila kot pripomoček za ravno tako izmišljeno napovedovanje prihodnosti. Tako v čipki, kot v zgodbi je zelo pomembna točka mirovanja, kjer se srečajo preteklost, sedanjost in prihodnost, kjer se bodo končno sanje, vizije, spomini in resničnost postavili na svoje mesto. Se bodo res?

V knjigi se izmenjujejo različni pripovedovalci. Zgodbo začne Towner, ki takoj pove, da ji je uradno ime Sophya in doda naj ji ne verjamemo ničesar kar pove, ker nenehno laže. Mislim, da tega kljub vsemu nisem jemala kot informacijo, ki bi jo morala med branjem imeti v mislih. Šele veliko kasneje, ko sem o istem dogodku brala različne poglede različnih pripovedovalcev, skoraj pred koncem knjige sem se začela spraševati kaj je sploh res. Postala sem pozorna na nedoslednosti, različne poglede na isto stvar, narobe napisana imena na nagrobnikih (so res?). Zakaj se policijsko poročilo razlikuje od spominov, ki se spet razlikujejo od zapisa preteklega dogodka, ki je bil napisan kot del terapije v bolnišnici?

Po navadi se v knjigah stvari postavijo na svoje mesto. Tu je malce drugače. Nekatere se res, druge pa moramo na ustrezno mesto postaviti sami. Seveda, če se to odločimo storiti. Nič ni narobe, če jih pustimo tam, kjer so. Sama se jih pustila, saj obožujem nejasnost in odprtost. To je knjiga o dojemanju zapisanih dogodkov, o različnih pogledih nanje. Kar je napisala avtorica, je njen pogled na dogajanje, čeprav si ga je sama izmislila. Morda pa imajo osebe v zgodbi svoje ideje. Vsekakor pa imamo svoje ideje bralci. Moje branje je tudi samo moj pogled na opisane dogodke. Towner ima svojega pa že na začetku nas je opozorila, da nenehno laže. Kaj pa če niti to ni res?

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