It's that spooky frisson that makes you, for a split second, want to throw your book across the room. Or chuckle. Or flail, blindly, for the familiar barrier between storyworld and readerworld—you know, your world. There's nothing as electric as an experimental flourish executed well, and metafiction (defined, loosely, as fiction which draws attention to its own structure or nature) has long been fertile ground for literature's rule-breakers and boundary-pushers. My debut novel, At The End Of Every Day , revolves around a similar experiential layering of lore: a peculiar woman named Delphi must reckon with secrets looming in the shadows at the theme park where she works, one which has had to shut its gates after the death of an actress following an incident on a ride styled after one of the starlet's films. Narrative metalepsis (which concerns “transgressions” of boundaries between narrative levels within any given story; the way your favorite book-within-a-book and film-within-a-film interacts with their reader or viewer) is also the subject of my doctoral research, so perhaps it goes without saying that metafiction has been injected into my veins of late… and somehow I'm not sick of it yet! From the imaginary documentary inside a dead neighbor's trunk, to the King of Zembla, these works of metafiction span decades, but embody the same truth: that stories are just more fun when they blur the lines of fiction and reality. * Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov When French-narratology-Daddy Gérard Genette first wrote about the concept of paratext, he did so with taxonomies in mind, the whole “spatial, temporal, substantial, pragmatic, functional” of experimenting with story. Did he know how fun playing with paratext—the stuff situated around primary text, like indexes and epigraphs—could be? Well, Nabokov did! And he showcased it best in Pale Fire , amid the faux-footnotes that uber-keen editor Charles Kinbote has packed into his publication of the magnificent epic poem by former colleague John Shade (all of whom are, of course, fictional.) Oh and those footnotes? About triple the length of the poem itself, and in them we watch the psyche of […]
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