The Delta


Deviating from traditional literature in both style and structure, Carole Maso's contemporary novel AVA presents the story of a dying woman in a sensually rhythmic, poetic style. Memories return to Ava Klein, professor of comparative literature, world traveler, lover and friend as she lies helpless in her hospital room. But Maso's prose does not recount each tale in easily understood chronological or thematic order. Instead, the text is a compilation of Ava's recollections; fragments of each memory intermingle. Like a quilt lovingly woven together, the story begins incoherently and ends with devastatingly beautiful understanding. Maso, however, does not claim stylistic innovation. Highly reminiscent of French "écriture feminine."(1) AVA draws extensively from the works and theory of Hélène Cixous. Maso escapes the traditional masculine form and assumes a more feminine freedom of space and substance.