Clive Johnson's Reviews > The Woman of the Well

The Woman of the Well by Georgina Anne Taylor
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Jan 07, 12

Read from January 06 to 07, 2012

Taylor’s excellent short allegorical fable is nicely and economically written with good evocation of a particular nuanced mood - delicately Romantic - a kind of Burne-Jones picture. There’s an almost poetically dreamlike quality to its setting, its lack of explanation cleverly forcing the reader to provide their own most personally poignant narrative lead-in. Even the point at which the tale begins adds to that feeling of near-death delirium.

The task Taylor’s set herself, though, is not an easy one, a modern evocation of a style that is itself a Victorian evocation of medievalism. Although a bold and innovative attempt, the more modern sexually explicit plot device does sit rather at odds with the nineteenth century literary form. It isn’t helped by the device, death’s sensuous and inveigling nature, being somewhat obscured by prose that lacks any preparation for the story’s denouement.

With a final detailed editorial burnish, to sharpen the prose further and open up clearer opportunities for implicit plot guidance, its potential could be better exploited although I have to contend that there is a quite fundamental problem. Such a work, by nature of its very form, must have a clear theme, must expound a moral truth if it’s to be anything more than an appealing tale well told. What this work really needs is to be part of a collection or anthology within a themed volume, something to impart the kind of justification any such short parable or fable will always demand.

A wonderfully poetic and evocative tale that's certainly an enjoyable read but does always hint at something hidden.

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