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Passages

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  72 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
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 spli ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published 1969)
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Mariel
Jan 31, 2013 Mariel rated it liked it
Recommends it for: there has been a death recently no one occupied the body since
Recommended to Mariel by: a dog with a rotten tongue hesitates to eat the carcass
Not that I've dismissed the possibility that my brother is dead. We have discussed what is possible, what is not. They say there's every chance. No chance at all.

I had the feeling of staying up late at night and listening to someone far away fighting. Voices muffled, then sex. Not lovemaking. I can't see or here anything and then images come from the sounds. Not too loud, someone will hear. An unreal quality, like playacting or a dream. Whips, moans, hair and lashing. The next day they emerge wi
...more
Nate D
A Mediterranean travelelogue of disaffection and dissolution, Passages follows a women searching for her brother, dead or alive, across unnamed and war-torn countries, while her sometime lover alternately aids her search and follows his own into erotic excess. This is a very oblique story, conveyed in fragments and journal-bound notes, where themes and details flutter by and lost into a desolate landscape more than they compose a linear narrative. It may be Ann Quin's best writing, though, supri ...more
Sean
Feb 19, 2016 Sean rated it it was amazing

A woman and a man travel in an unnamed region that might be the Mediterranean. The woman is searching for her missing brother, a Communist party member who has possibly been 'disappeared'. All she has is blurred and incomplete photos suggesting a faint likeness. The man she travels with is her lover who is depressed and seeking meaning in his life. The story is told in alternating sections: the woman's first-person narrative (both I and We); and the man's journal complete with marginal notes pri
...more
Jon
Sep 28, 2013 Jon added it
I suppose the best word to describe this novel is cinematic....It reminds me of a combination of BLOW-UP and Z, with John Cassavetes handling the boy-girl domestic scenes....It's been compared to Graham Greene's BRIGHTON ROCK but reminds me more of Cyril Connolly's THE ROCK POOL, the same sense of slightly decadent beach-side futility. (Her first two novels have a similar setting.) Her later and last novel TRIPTICKS is more amusing, a bizarre trip through the late-60s US from a British perspecti ...more
Jafar
Dec 20, 2012 Jafar rated it really liked it
I went to the library to get another one of Ann Quin’s books, but picked up this one instead. This book reminded me a lot of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It’s written in fragments and the writing is poetic. The landscape is not the post-apocalyptic America, but an unnamed Island in which a woman is searching for her brother whom she fears killed by the military. She’s accompanied by her lover. As in The Road, there’s no plot. The focus is on the relationship between the man and the woman. Half o ...more
Martin
Jan 20, 2013 Martin rated it really liked it
Shelves: milestones
This is absolutely amazing and thrilling read. Whether you read it as a whole or opening it from time to time to read its fragments, it offers emotionally rich and balanced read. Some passages are almost ripe and ready for you to squeeze the sweet juices out of them. Some may feel bitter and can remind you of failure and regret, but they're still gently envowen in the text so you can absorb them without any harm. It's the strongest experimental novella I read since I discovered Ferlighetti's "He ...more
Chris
Mar 09, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing
He Are you happy or unhappy?
She That’s not a very important question


This is a story of depression and annihilation and co-dependence and/but it’s very beautiful.

A man and a woman wander through Mediterranean beach towns, possibly all on the brink of war, searching for the woman’s lost brother, who may or may not be dead, and for themselves, neither of which they can seem to find.

Passages is split into quarters. The first and third are the woman’s point of view, which comes as segments of descrip
...more
Brent Hayward
May 08, 2016 Brent Hayward rated it really liked it
A short yet poignant and ultimately unsettling collection of, well, passages. The anonymous British couple is overseas, perhaps on a Greek island, or maybe North Africa, overindulging in parties, their tortured, open love affair, ennui, bsdm, and self-despair. A war creeps closer. The threat of militia and arrest is in the air. The woman ostensibly searches for her brother, who is likely jailed or dead. Beautiful and impressionistic sentences set up the short scenes, most of which are striking. ...more
Geoffrey
May 16, 2016 Geoffrey rated it liked it
I don't know about Quin, I really don't. I definitely thought this was better than Three. There's some good writing here; she clearly isn't full of shit. But with a few exceptions, I did NOT enjoy reading Passages.
Maria
Jan 06, 2016 Maria rated it liked it
Tw: rape
I kinda didn't like it at first and I kind of had a hard time getting through it because of some weird rape/pedophilic metaphors/references. Mostly a 3 because I enjoyed the two parts written like a journal
Fenixbird SandS
Oct 02, 2007 Fenixbird SandS rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ANYONE IN A RELATIONSHIP
HELP! GREAT OVERVIEW OF THE VARIETY OF PEOPLE AND THEIR CHOICES BREAKS DOWN THE PASSAGES OF LIFE THROUGH THE STAGES...DECADE BY DECADE....PSYCH DEVELOPMENT
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Ann Quin (1936-1973) was a British writer noted for her experimental style. The author of Berg (1964), Three (1966), Passages (1969) and Tripticks (1972), she committed suicide in 1973 at the age of 37.

Quin came from a working-class family and was educated at the Convent of the Blessed Sacrament. She trained as a shorthand typist and worked in a solicitor's office, then at a publishing company whe
...more
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