|Adrienne Eisen: Making Scenes|
Alt-X Press (Trade Paperback), ISBN 0-374-52704-0
I read this book from cover to cover, only putting it aside when the demands of my life became too persistent to ignore, and then I thought to myself, Wow!
I knew from other reading that Adrienne Eisen won an award for her electronic writing. So I ran a quick Google search to learn more about a genre called hypertext fiction at which she evidently excels.
From what I can gather, this mode of writing attempts to exploit the capacities of hypertext in order to create a layered, non-linear, reading experience for its audience. A piece of hypertext fiction therefore, comprises a few dozen or so individual scenes, linked to each other either directly or in roundabout way for the reader to browse in whichever sequence appeals to her, perhaps as she might view a collage of visual images. The reader assimilates all these bits in her mind, together with her own experience to synthesize a unique work of art -- one conceivably quite different from the one that another reader might compose from her readings.
The tangible nature of a dead-tree book can't properly reproduce this kind of text, yet Eisen manages to approximate some of the adventure of hyper-textuality in Making Scenes. She constructs her entire book as a number of vignettes and scenes narrated by her protagonist. Then she arranges them randomly in terms of time and place to try and escape the bounds of linearity. She also introduces an occasional subtle discrepancy between the young woman narrator's version of events and that which an observant reader might detect as what really occurred.
Making Scenes traces the life of a twenty-something-young woman rebelling against her parents' expectations by underachieving academically and over-indulging in sensory stimulation. The disjointed nature of the text evokes very effectively the confusion and pain of a young person trying to make sense of the experiences of her childhood. Perhaps not a novel to enchant the faint-hearted reader, but it will pique the reader whose comfort zones gladly engage with assault.
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