Marguerite Duras's The Malady of Death, Lydia Davis's The End of the Story, and Maggie Nelson's Bluets all address the grief and misery of sexual relation, or, perhaps more accurately, nonrelation. Duras's récit provides a means of approaching the complex questions surrounding the failure of relation, and the writing of that failure, that I think interest Davis and Nelson. The Malady of Death can provide an introduction to the notion of impossible relation and the way a confrontation with that impossibility might open onto a different kind of relation—one that both escapes writing and is enacted by it. Nelson's Bluets begins as a meditation on her love for the color blue and soon reveals itself as a work that also examines the nature of loss and the difficulty of knowing and loving another person. Lastly, Davis, in The End of the Story, focuses on the way we narrate the loss of relation, sometimes before it has even happened, as a means of trying to makes sense of something that probably always eludes our grasp.

You do not currently have access to this content.