A is for Annabel – Short note on Annabel by Kathleen Winter

“Different though the sexes are, they inter mix. In every human being a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep the male or female likeness, while underneath the sex is the very opposite of what it is above.” Virginia Wolf

Kathleen Winter dragged me around the last few days holding me trapped in a small town in Labrador. Serving up regular doses of pure wonderment and magic. Opening tightly shut doors in the soul and psyche. Feeding me small but great lives lived and some stifled like beaver dams stemming blood’s tide; and feeding mostly its cruelties. Both ordinary and not so ordinary. And like in the Cantique de Jean Racine which plays a part in the book; in the book’s last chapters Kathleen Winter lifted me up on a magic cloud of powerful emotion stemming from seemingly simple situations that I felt I was floating closer to the ceiling in my room as I came to the book’s end.

Sometimes I felt that the narrative sagged but I think Winter was only playing a trick on me. A book like no other I have ever read. It opened up and made sense of the trap of gender and freed me from it. Even more importantly it made me look at some of the more difficult and very personal aspects of my own life and helped me make better sense of those situations like nothing else has done for me. It has now become a book that I will hold dear always. And a bitter sweet love letter to Labrador written out like one were knitting a scarf. A comfort.

You want to know more? Well you know what to do. Read Annabel. A book to love dearly. A book to read again and again. A book that is hard to love until you’ve walked towards the very end.

Renuka Mendis

from May 3, 2014.

Goldfrapp sang Annabel inspired by Winter’s book. Watch. This is from Goldfrapp TV on Youtube.

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