marianne apostolides

Deep Salt Water: Month Six

Room is pleased to feature Month Six of the captivating and thought-provoking Deep Salt Water, an interdisciplinary collaboration among four artists—author Marianne Apostolides, collage artist Catherine Mellinger, photographer Melanie Gordon, and composer Paul Swoger-Ruston—based on the forthcoming book by Apostolides of the same title. Deep Salt Water is an intimate memoir about abortion, expressed through the language and imagery of the ocean.

I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind

By 
Marianne Apostolides
Book*hug Press, 363 pages, $23.00
2020
Reviewed by 
Nadia Siu Van

Marianne Apostolides delves into the philosophical writings of J.L. Austin and Jacques Derrida in the first few pages of her ambitious novel on what it means to say “I love you”—a universal utterance that is always on the edge of being misunderstood. Ariadne Samsarelos, the forty-something writer at the centre of I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind, sets out to answer this question using her own personal intimacies as narrative research. “What do you want to hear when I speak those words at night,” she writes. “What do I want to convey with those words.”
     To make sense of her on-and-off affair with Adam, a “sort-of-married” man, Ariadne embarks on writing a manuscript about the declaration of love. At the same time, she joins a research study to support herself financially as she writes her book, which requires living for one year with an AI named Dirk. Ariadne ref- erences Austin and Derrida’s “performative speech act” theory, which helps frame her exploration of love as an “act” of professing, but later turns to Heidegger, who understands the essence of language as “the capacity, of humans, to tell a lie.”
     Ariadne draws on both personal experiences and literary sources in the recesses of her memory: the Greeks, where the mercurial goddess Aphrodite only declares “I love you” once in all of ancient literature, but to Helen in a moment of anger; her ex-lover Marty, who really meant “thank you” when he unwittingly declared his love in what she calls a “premature ejaculation of language”; her ex-husband, to whom she has never uttered these three words, or received them; and four-year-old Ariadne, who couldn’t have fathomed what those words meant to her mother, except that they held power. As Ariadne’s cousin, Fotios, says: “Language is ambiguous.”
     Ariadne admits to “chasing” Derrida throughout the book, but she also leans on many other Western thinkers like Freud, Jacques Lacan, and Bertrand Russell, with each one bringing a different perspective that enriches the narrative. Ariadne’s relationship to Dirk similarly raises interesting questions about how AI encroaches on the body and the brain—but although Ariadne briefly mentions Alan Turing, the father of AI, she falls short on delivering the same nuance on AI as her philosophical musings.
     While the inclusion of an AI element allows Apostolides to move more fluidly between two distinct structures of writing—a first-person narrative mostly comprised of Ariadne’s manuscript, and a third-person perspective where Ariadne interacts with Dirk and the real world—the issues around data, privacy, and consciousness may have been more meaningfully developed as its own story.
     What I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind does masterfully is examine love through the lens of Ariadne, poetically weaving in the philosophy and literary writings that inform her understanding of the world. When Apostolides focuses on these strengths, the book is captivating, inquisitive, and provocative. As Ariadne says, “These words have power.”

 

Nadia Siu Van is a Toronto-based writer and editor.

 

Deep Salt Water: Month Nine

Read the final installment in the captivating and thought-provoking Deep Salt Water series, an interdisciplinary collaboration among four artists—author Marianne Apostolides, collage artist Catherine Mellinger, photographer Melanie Gordon, and composer Paul Swoger-Ruston—based on the forthcoming book by Apostolides of the same title.

Deep Salt Water: Month Seven

Room is pleased to feature Month Seven of the captivating and thought-provoking Deep Salt Water, an interdisciplinary collaboration among four artists—author Marianne Apostolides, collage artist Catherine Mellinger, photographer Melanie Gordon, and composer Paul Swoger-Ruston—based on the forthcoming book by Apostolides of the same title. Deep Salt Water is an intimate memoir about abortion, expressed through the language and imagery of the ocean.

17 Books to Read in 2017

In Anne of Green Gables—that beloved Prince Edward Island saga—Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote, “Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.” Well, Lucy Maud Montgomery wasn’t around for 2016. The tomorrows (and yesterdays and todays, hours and even minutes) of 2016 were not only marked by mistakes, but by catastrophic anguish and an alarming amount of apathy. I won’t even mention the mistakes of 2016 in this blog post for fear of giving them more power. If there is power in naming, then I want to give that power to 17 forthcoming books that will surely help remember what bright and remarkable beings we are, and to move forward knowing that possibility always exits. Books do this for us, right? (The answer is damn right.) I name these 17 Books to Read in 2017.

Deep Salt Water: Month Five

Room is pleased to bring you the fifth installment in the captivating and thought-provoking Deep Salt Water, an interdisciplinary collaboration between author Marianne Apostolides, collage artist Catherine Mellinger, photographer Melanie Gordon, and composer Paul Swoger-Ruston, based on the forthcoming book by Apostolides of the same title.

Deep Salt Water: Month Four

Back again for Month 4, Room is proud to feature the intensely visceral and thought-provoking Deep Salt Water, an intimate memoir about the totality of abortion as human experience. Here we present to you Month 4 of Deep Salt Water, an interdisciplinary collaboration among four artists–author Marianne Apostolides, collage artist Catherine Mellinger, photographer Melanie Gordon, and composer Paul Swoger-Ruston–based on the forthcoming book by Apostolides of the same title.

Deep Salt Water: Month Three

Following the success of the first two months, Room is pleased to bring you the third installment of the captivating and thought-provoking Deep Salt Water, an interdisciplinary collaboration among four artists—author Marianne Apostolides, collage artist Catherine Mellinger, photographer Melanie Gordon, and composer Paul Swoger-Ruston—based on the forthcoming book by Apostolides of the same title.

Deep Salt Water: Month Two

Welcome to Month Two of Deep Salt Water. Room is pleased to feature this captivating and thought-provoking project, an interdisciplinary collaboration among four artists—author Marianne Apostolides, collage artist Catherine Mellinger, photographer Melanie Gordon, and composer Paul Swoger-Ruston—based on Apostolides’ forthcoming book Deep Salt Water.

Deep Salt Water: Month One

Room is pleased to feature the captivating and thought-provoking Deep Salt Water, an interdisciplinary collaboration between four artists—author Marianne Apostolides, collage artist Catherine Mellinger, photographer Melanie Gordon, and composer Paul Swoger-Ruston—based on the forthcoming book by Apostolides of the same title.

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