365 Days of Women Writers

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Day 25: A Loss for ____ by Brenta Blevins

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A Loss for ____ ties together the outer story where the world is losing their language and an inner story where the narrator Lila has lost her mother and her lover.

The words start to disappear innocently enough – people fumble for the right word, aren’t quite as eloquent as they used to be. But Lila notices that it’s not just her – when she looks in the dictionary, there are words that are blurred out and she can’t read them and neither can the librarian. (And as the story progresses, the vocabulary telling it also becomes more limited.)

As these mysterious losses progress, as you might expect, panic and chaos take over. But for the most part Lila sees it in a detached manner. The words don’t matter to Lila as much as the loss of her girlfriend and the things she didn’t say before she left.

There’s a motif that repeats throughout the story – a “Dear John” letter that her former girlfriend Cassie has written Lila opens the story with a few words excised, but they are easily filled in. As the story progresses, the letter repeats with more words missing. The last time it appears there is only their names, I, you and hope.

The ending doesn’t quite work for me because I found the last letter more poignant and wish it had stopped there.

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Written by Chance

October 12, 2010 at 6:03 pm