“By the time I remembered the tea Maisie had left by my elbow it was cold. An important stage in the deterioration of our marriage was reached…”
That starts the unfolding of marital discord between the narrator and Maisie, where they hit each other with a shoe outside the bathroom and she smashed the glass jar of the pickled penis of his great grandfather. This is arguably the finest story in this ‘That Glimpse of Truth’ volume of the equally arguable finest 100 short stories ever. Meantime, as one of two stories so different and unique they cancel each other out into potential nothingness, this story has, from elbow moment to elbow moment, a counterbalancing synergy with THE FOLDING MAN (read synchronously a preternatural day or so ago HERE) by which synergy we are again allowed to combine dimensionality and consciousness, origami and history, mathematics and sex, sheets of paper and bodily parts, as the great grandfather and a friend called M reached a figurative orgasm of what? Nothingness. (“…Maisie voluptuous and drowsy after her bath and stretched full out, and I propped up on my elbow.”) And, yes, today the modern narrator and his version of M, too, arising from one formula of writing in memoirs of the past to the new narrator’s formula, the latter couched in the miraculous prose of the singular author who wrote one formula within the other. And this becomes the fiction-real Tarot of the many sexual-congress positions (here involving, inter alia, ‘arms linked’ when walking outside earlier and now, in bed, ‘arms looped’ to form an empty hoop), positions involuted thus toward a version of the story gestalt that is uniquely able to grant the perfect literary nirvana as bespoke to me. That singular glimpse of truth.
‘That Glimpse of Truth’ context here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/11/06/that-glimpse-of-truth-6/
My previous reviews of Ian McEwan: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/?s=Ian+McEwan&submit=Search