Isobel and Emile
By Alan Reed
This is the story of Isobel and Emile. They wake up beside each other one morning, and they slowly get out of bed. It is the last time that they will sleep together. They know it. They do not want it to be the last time but they know that it is. They get out of bed and they ... Read more
This is the story of Isobel and Emile. They wake up beside each other one morning, and they slowly get out of bed. It is the last time that they will sleep together. They know it. They do not want it to be the last time but they know that it is. They get out of bed and they go to a train station. Emile gets onto a train. Isobel does not. She stands on the platform and she watches him go. He is going to the city, where he will be an artist. He will make puppets, andfilms of puppets, that struggle to say something he does not have the words for. She will stay in the small town, in the small room where they lived. She will work at a small grocery store and write letters to Emile while she works up the courage to do something more. Told in a stark, minimalist voice, Isobel and Emile is the hypnotizing story of two lovers without each other. It is a story of struggling with loss and a loneliness that threatens to consume them. It is about staying true to whatthey hold dear, no matter that it is hopeless and that nothing will ever come of it, because sometimes that is all that is left. And sometimes, it is enough.
'Isobel & Emile is the literary equivalent of a Phil Collins song. The kind you listen to during a painful breakup. The kind that perfectly captures the subtleties of longing and puts rhythm and words to the things that are rolling around inside you … it will probably live under your skin long after you've put it back on the shelf. '
– Montreal Gazette
'This is a love story that's beautiful in its simplicity . .. the story carefully tactile and heart-wrenching. '
– The Coast
Alan Reed studied semiotics at the University of Toronto and writing at Dartington College of Arts (in the UK). He is the author of a collection of poems, For Love of the City, and two plays. For the past few years, he has been making things that sit somewhere between writing, installation and performance art. Isobel & Emile is his first novel. He lives quietly in Montreal.