Recollecting Our Life Stories Piece by Piece: Reading Albert in the Novel

“Piece by piece, piece by piece, this is how the story will reveal itself.” (Casey, 202)

Albert in this novel is just like the Doctor, Walter, Marian and the rest of us, when he is striving to recall his life piece by piece and make his identity. We all use memory, imagination and even sensation to recollect ourselves by spinning a coherent life story and telling the story to ourselves and other people, though some of us try their best to forget some pieces, while others try to remember all.

To Albert in the novel, losing self (disappearing) means losing his history, his past, and seeking self is very much like looking for friendship, care, love which are unchanged in the course of time:

“He wants this new life where love isn’t always somewhere else. He wants this new life where he is not merely a man who has appeared out of thin air but a man with a history.” (Casey, 116)

“Love was something from long ago. Love required staying in one place. Love required knowing where you were last night and last week and last year, where you would be tomorrow.” (Casey, 120)

For me, Casey’s novel is not only about oblivion and cure, but in many senses about love and friendship.

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One Response to Recollecting Our Life Stories Piece by Piece: Reading Albert in the Novel

  1. Jason Tougaw says:

    It’s a great point. Love and care are a big part of the novel. The section toward the end, entitled “Dreaming Together” seems to point to connections among people as an alternative to a stable identity, based in linear narrative. That’s not an alternative for Albert, but he can connect with others.

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