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Isobel & Emile 

Alan Reed (Coach House)

Isobel is a teenage girl, a runaway of sorts. Emile is a puppeteer who stops in Isobel’s town for the summer. We don’t know much more about Isobel or Emile’s background, but we know the feel of their naked bodies, the decor in their rooms, the taste of their cups of coffee. Emile leaves for the city to make films; Isobel is left feeling empty and fragile. This is a love story that’s beautiful in its simplicity, moving slowly through what happens to these two lovers after they part. Reed’s sentences are short and precise; we learn only the bare minimum about the characters on an external level, but are shown everything going on inside them from their simplest actions, their unsent love letters and closed doors, the story carefully tactile and heart-wrenching.
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Vol 27, No 26
November 21, 2019

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