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This article is taken from PN Review 192, Volume 36 Number 4, March - April 2010.

The Notebook Kirsty Gunn
There was a folder on the kitchen table and inside was stapled several loose-leaf pages, some covered heavily in typescript, dense and underscored, with no breaks for paragraphs or line endings, others spread evenly and full with handwriting in an open, legible style. Clearly (and later she would remember that she had thought this from the beginning), quite clearly, Isabel thought, the folder was meant to be opened. The pages, all of them, were intended to be seen.

One piece of paper, where the ink had smeared at the bottom, as though the writer had laid something greasy down upon the page, had even been carefully restored so the reader could make out the words beneath the stain. Isabel poured herself a glass of wine and sat down at the kitchen table to look at it more closely. There - in biro the writer had gone over the characters that would otherwise have been difficult to make out - a sentence sang out through the smudge of blue: ‘But now I know otherwise!’ Isabel read. ‘Don’t open the window when it’s late and there’s a little sound of scratching!’ She turned the page to see more phrases that were similar to this, full of exclamation marks, or long ellipses where the paragraph had been left to fall away into uncertainty: ‘…here’s a place to walk but very soft and leafy underground…’ she read, followed by ‘… and a fragrance of…’ And then ‘…more leaf…’ written in italics, and ‘ ...


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