Margarettown by Gabrielle Zevin
Margarettown is one of those wonderfully innovative novels that defies simple explanation. While it is essentially a reinvention of the old boy-meets-girl story, it is aptly described in promotional material as “part fable, part memoir, part journey through the many worlds of one woman.” More than the story of one man and his relationship with the enigmatic Maggie Towne, this novel is an exploration of love and of identity.
The novel is divided into six books, each of which focuses on a different aspect of Maggie and her life. Although the majority of the novel is in the form of a letter written by Maggie’s husband N. (we never learn his full name) to their young daughter, Zevin does not restrict herself to one narrative technique. While this can be disorienting for the reader, it is usually quite effective. “Susurrus,” arguably the most moving section, is also its most discordant, consisting entirely of a dialog between two not-quite-real characters.
Reading Margarettown is quite literally a journey of discovery. We begin the novel curious and confused, but, by the novel’s final pages, we realize that we’ve gained something just by reading it...
Read the full review at Curled Up.