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Duplex: A Novel

Duplex: A Novel - Kathryn Davis In my favorite passage of Kafka’s [b:The Trial|17690|The Trial|Franz Kafka|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1320399438s/17690.jpg|2965832], K. takes a tour of the Court’s offices. No one that K. encounters finds it odd that the Court’s offices are located in the dark, stifling attic of a tenement house. The reader finds it odd, but not jarringly so. It would make sense in a dream and, in the preceding chapters, Kafka has all but come right out and told the reader to expect dream logic. Moreover, Kafka’s skill is such that the reader does not realize how completely she’s suspended her own disbelief.

Kathryn Davis does not manage to pull off this trick quite as well in Duplex. Dream logic is only believable when it is underpinned by an infrastructure of consistency. This was somewhat lacking in Duplex. I found myself confused not by time shifts and multiple dimensions, but by the abrupt change in tone from section to section.

However, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. There were passages that were as beautiful and haunting as the memory of a vivid dream right after you’ve awoken. Marjorie Vicks’ river crossing was one such image.

The myths (e.g. The Four Horsewomen, The Descent of the Aquanauts, The Rain of Beads), were off putting the first time I read the book. But after a second reading (I’ve read the book three times now), I was glad that Ms. Davis had woven them into Duplex.

I think the novel itself is a myth about the lifecycle of twentieth century women. Seen from that perspective, the myths embedded in the novel could server as signals of the author’s intent to mythologize. Even if there’s really nothing more to them than colorful yarns, they’re funny, scary and sad.

So, if you are willing to plow through some rough patches and if you are willing to invest the time to read this book at least twice, I think you’ll discover that images, and even experiences, from Duplex have a way of sneaking past your conscious mind and insinuating themselves into your own store of associations and connotations.