A book of voices, landscapes and seasons, Ann Quin's newly republished novel mirrors the multiplicity of meanings of the very word 'passage', of music, of time, and of life itself. A woman, accompanied by her lover, searches for her lost brother, who may have been a revolutionary, and who may have been tortured, imprisoned or killed. Roving through a Mediterranean landscape, they live out their entangled existences, reluctant to give up, afraid of the outcome.
Reflecting the schizophrenia of its characters, the novel splits into alternating passages, switching between the sister and her lover's perspective. The lover's passages are also fractured, taking the form of a diary with notes alongside the entries. An intricate system of repetition and relation builds across the passages. 'All seasons passed through before the pattern formed, collected in parts.'
Ann Quin (1936-1973) was a working-class writer from Brighton, England. She was at the forefront of British experimentalism in the 1960s along with BS Johnson and Alan Burns. Prior to her death in 1973, she published four novels: Berg(1964), Three (1966), Passages (1969) and Tripticks (1972). A collection of short stories and fragments, The Unmapped Country (edited by Jennifer Hodgson), was published by And Other Stories to great acclaim in 2018. Quin's novel Berg was republished by And Other Stories in 2019, followed by Three in 2020.