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Negotiating Four Generations Of Voices

(with a Little Help from Google Earth)

Lynn E. Palermo

The Herring and the Saxophone (Le Hareng et le saxophone), a hybrid work by Sylvie Weil, is listed as a novel, yet just as in Tim O’Brien’s The Things We Carried and Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, the narrator’s voice carries the author’s own name. It’s written in the first person, but the narrator doesn’t fully introduce herself until chapter 5. An autobiographical work centered on family more than self—if the two can be separated. Not Weil’s own family, but her in-laws, generations of them, down to the little boy Ricky, who would one day grow up to be Eric, Sylvie’s husband.

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July - August 2018