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Review: (O), by Sophie Mayer

© David Hart 2015, Stride Magazine

Sophie Mayer's '(O)' is a romp of narration. I have never heard her live, never heard her voice but seem to hear it now. The book is all voice. Is she a voracious reader, does she listen in in every way she can to whatever she can, is she for ever translating English into English?

There is her slow mode -

Euripides wrote two plays about Iphigenia. They are our main
source for her story, and he told it backwards: in the first play,
Iphigenia among the Taurians, she is alive and the war is over.
The god that wanted her dead has saved her.

- and I am happy to listen patiently to where she takes it (I am quoting some way into the seven and a bit pages of 'Silence, Singing') and there is more of the newsy narrative of this kind, of the ancients, and there is, for instance, a 'Pas de Deux - for Mike and Heather', which begins,


You have always been moving towards and towards.
From out of the north and the west, through orchard and
prairie, running and dancing and longing,
you've come.

It's not all sweetness and light, there's a Biblical talkback - 'David's First Drafts' - with sections beginning typically (this the first),

Fuck you, Bathsheba,
and your little dog, too. You're not
invited to this party. Sorry,
off the list.

Buy this book for the group, for the university essay, for a personal journey. Language lives.