Gathered Crumbs from a Lost Cake

Review of Elizabeth Ellen’s Person/a, appearing in Riot Material.
“The poet, Robert Lowell, spoke about the best poems, the most personal ones, as being “gathered crumbs from a lost cake.” Elizabeth Ellen, in architecting a novel from “lost crumbs,” has created a searing inner-portrait of the artist as a riddle unto herself. A failed love affair with a younger man has left her sifting through wreckage, or to put it more accurately: has made sifting through wreckage her primary point of existence. Though E.E. is forty years old at the start of the book (there are four different “books,” or volumes, covering different periods of time and different emotional climates, each hinging upon the central axis of “obsession”), her core wounding, and guttural responses, derive from an unscabbed adolescent self. Deep wounds set us back. If you want to time travel, have your heart broken. You will become six again, or nine, or fourteen. This quality, which resonates throughout E.E.’s narrative, infuses the novel with a sort of inverse romanticism, or youthful claim on suffering. This book sings it bones with unrelenting candor, with its illusions worn on its sleeve.”
To read the full review, click here.


About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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