Oulipan tricks and intricacies abound: from the recurring April fool’s fish motifs, to the Sisyphean circularities of Harold playing himself in a play which re-enacts his own escape. The layered formal framework adds convoluted threads which put pressure on the authenticity of the narrative with amusing but sometimes unnecessary flourishes. These distractions are underpinned by something more interesting however: an uncomfortable examination of the constraints of the shifting modes of narrative presentation. And it is here that the novel truly stretches past its formal constraints, allowing the process of ‘fabrication’ (both literal and metaphorical) to be continually interrogated.
Daniel Fraser reviews Philip Terry‘s Tapestry