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- Published on Amazon.com
The plot, such as it is, seems to involve a man travelling across the US hounded by his ex-wife and her lover. It's another Ann Quin love triangle, another quest, but that's as far as the resemblance of "Tripticks" (1972) to her earlier novels goes. The intentionally rough typescript is presumably supposed to imply that Quin bashed this out on a typewriter in marathon speed-freak sessions, beat-style, and then used the "cut up" technique to process the resulting stream of consciousness. The influence of Burroughs is overwhelming. The novel as a whole resembles a collage, especially as many pages feature more or less random little pop-art illustrations by Carol Annand.
I first read "Tripticks" in an old Calder edition years ago and was very disappointed, but thought I'd try again with this new Dalkey Archive reprint, but I still find it a struggle to get through. I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from reading "Tripticks", I really like Ann Quin but, personally, I think that with this, the fourth and final novel before her suicide, she got lost. Her previous novels mixed formal experimentation with fine psychological characterization (and a very English sensibility). "Tripticks" is her attempt at a Great American Avant Garde Novel, but it comes across as a rather superficial would-be hip satire at the expense of "straight" American consumer culture. I thought it a very dated experiment, however the cover on this new edition declares "Tripticks" ahead of its time! The blurb says it's "pre-punk" and "prefigures Kathy Acker" etc. So I could be totally wrong. I do like the illustrations though....