Aileen Cassinetto 's Reviews > Silk Egg: Collected Novels

Silk Egg by Eileen R. Tabios
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Feb 19, 2016

it was amazing

Review by Aileen Cassinetto

Silk Egg begins, like much of Eileen Tabios' work, with "the most infinitesimal hint of light."  There are 12 short novels in this collection, each one with seven chapters. In her book description, Tabios admits to spilling d'Yquem on a limestone windowsill on the 7th floor of Jorge Luis Borges' library of Babel — which she proceeded to erase with a bottle of Ajax.  Now, all this may sound confusing, at first, but the narrator is a playful, illumined guide in a Borgesian universe.  The novels, taken individually, are self-contained and carefully layered; taken together, they form a hexagonal pyramid — each novel an edge, each chapter a vertice. 

Much of the novel's narrative focus is drawn from mood and complex ideas.
And it is very tempting to approach it from a deconstuctivist perspective — i.e. the Borgesian labyrinth seeming to give rise to the Tabios pyramid, to borrow from architect and theorist Bernard Tschumi. 

Continuing the topological thread, Tabios writes of:
"silk walls of a pale blue"
"the irrelevance of ribbons"
A pewter sea.
A shirt woven from hummingbird wings
[and of] air [that] bears no grudges

Muted as they are, these images rouse the tenderest of sentiments over the impermanence of structures.  That is to say, the perception of impermanence as directed by experience (or is it the other way around?). Architectural paradoxes aside, the significance of these novels is to present a new way of texturizing orthographical symbols and their meanings using as few combinations as possible. As Tabios puts it, "Look where the window view finally stops…" and/or see the world with words. That is again to say, dare to perceive, represent, truthfully.

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Reading Progress

January 1, 2012 – Started Reading
January 1, 2012 – Finished Reading
February 19, 2016 – Shelved
February 19, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read

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