A poetic book of voices, landscapes and the passing of time, Ann Quin’s finely wrought novel reflects the multiple meanings of the very word “passages.” Two characters move through the book—a woman in search of her brother, and her lover (a masculine reflection of herself) in search of himself. The form of the novel, reflecting the schizophrenia of the characters, is split into two sections—a narrative, and a diary annotated with those thoughts that provoked the entries.
Ann Quin (1936-1973) was one of the great unsung geniuses of 20th century British fiction. After a Catholic education, a brief stint of secretarial work, and a nervous breakdown, she began to write, and fell in with loosely-defined group of experimental English novelists that included B.S. Johnson, Stefan Themerson, and Eva Figes. Between 1964 and her suicide in 1973, Quin wrote four utterly unique novels, any one of which should’ve secured a lifelong reputation. Her work looks back to Beckett and Robbe-Grillet and forward to Markson, Sorrentino, Acker, and Bolaño. Berg, her debut novel, was the basis for the 1989 film Killing Dad.