By Helene Cixous
During this memoir-novel, a narrator who resembles Helene Cixous obsessively recounts an incident - the untimely demise of her first-born baby, a Down syndrome child left within the care of the medical institution in Algeria the place her midwife mom works. She makes use of this occasion to probe her relations historical past and her dating together with her mom, a refugee from Nazi Germany; her lifeless father, after whom the infant is termed; and her medical-student brother, who takes on a few of the tasks of a father determine. Cixous's elusive writing bears all of the emblems of her poetic, provocative sort, bright with observe play, severe feeling and a stream-of-consciousness that strikes freely over the years and position. The narrator's mom claims to not have in mind what occurred, and the brother attempts to fill in a few gaps within the tale. through the top of the booklet we comprehend the importance of the name: in the future Cixous's mom lower back to the health facility to discover the child near to dying. instead of try and keep him she selected to finish his pain. via last the door to the imaginary health facility on the finish, the narrator ultimately resolves the emotions of guilt and realizes that every man or woman has a destiny they have to undergo. Wasn't there's mainly an intimate learn of a woman's internal panorama.
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Extra info for The Day I Wasn't There (Avant-Garde & Modernism Collection)
Side by side my two sons with death at their side, that’s how they came to me. I never thought of it I thought, I never put two and two together that way, to see them lying next to one another under my eyes now, two brothers gazing up at their mother, and that happened all at once and it happened in the furthest reach of my being, it raced along my nerves with the speed of lightning, it coursed through my body like the annunciation of pregnancy, I felt the ﬁrst contraction, ﬁrst sign, the same as the desire for love and right away your breasts hurt and immediately came the ﬂood of tears, the same for the shock of love when at the moment we embrace one another with the hardness of those whom the imminence of loss galvanizes we keep check on our soul abrim with thoughts which however we do not locate: We merely escape the abyss which remains agape.
She never manages to have been there. Years later, the death hasn’t happened yet. Maybe never. Death exists? She’d rather not know. Letter to my son to whom I have never written a letter My love, to whom I have never declared my love, I write in the house I had built because of you, in haste for you and against you while Eve our mother was looking after you, I was building I wasn’t writing anymore, instead of poems, I was building I responded to your arrival with stones for the time of times, I welcomed you, I fended you off, in haste I raised a house to hold us and to keep us apart, I built the house to which you have never come.
Says my mother mentally counting down the ten steps of this departure. And the end is that there was a midwives’ meeting in Monaco and a midwife told me: You won’t believe it! Mrs. D. had a baby at ﬁfty plus! And what a husband! And me, says my mother, I thought what I thought: She ﬁnally had the baby she couldn’t have, and I knew how. One doesn’t really need to be pregnant in certain cases. That’s the story: The biggest fruit was always in her dish. As if it dropped out of the tree into her dish, that’s funny, Mrs.