Who are You?, Paperback Book


Who Are You? is a sparse depiction of the hopeless, emotional polarity of a young couple and their doomed marriage spent in a remote, tropical hell.

She - described only as 'the girl' - is young, sophisticated and sensitive; he, 'Mr Dog-Head', is an unreconstructed thug and heavy drinker who rapes his wife, otherwise passing his time bludgeoning rats with a tennis racket.

Together with a visiting stranger, 'Suede Boots', who urges the woman to escape until he is banished by her husband, these characters live through the same situations twice.

Their identities are equally real - or unreal - in each case.

With slight variation in the background and the novel's atmosphere, neither the outcome nor the characters themselves are quite the same the second time.

The constant question of the jungle "brain-lever' bird remains unanswered - "who are you?" The novel's typical autobiographical bias can be traced to Kavan's life in Burma during her first marriage.

An experimental piece that clearly anticipates the nouvelle vague cinema of Jean-Luc Godard, Who Are You? was reissued to widespread acclaim in 1973.


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