The Wooing of Eva
an empty journal
by David J. Keffer
No man or woman is wooed by theory alone.
-- Kobo Abé, The Woman in the Dunes
Despite the warning of Kobo Abé to the contrary,
the protagonist of "The Wooing of Eva" embarks on an endeavor to woo Eva by theory alone.
Journals are by and large kept by those who choose to keep them as a means of self-administered therapy. Writing down one's thoughts helps relieve the pressure caused when there is no other outlet with whom they can be shared. Journals also help the writer organize one's thoughts, in order to make sense of them and prepare an appropriate response. Journals are, of course, not intended to be read, much less published, except as a kind of tasteless joint exercise in exhibitionism on the part of the author and voyeurism on the part of the reader.
The Wooing of Eva is essentially a journal, written in first person. It is a contaminated journal in which fiction is mixed with the factual record. The ability to distinguish between events that actually transpired and the episodes of made-up narratives is complicated by the fact that the passages corresponding to reality are often filled with the imaginative musings of the author.
The worse sort of literary abuses exist in The Wooing of Eva. By and large, names were not changed, Eva being one of the exceptions. Thus individuals who invariably showed kindness to the author at the time have been captured and have had their trust abused. They are portrayed honestly, but without regard for their privacy. Such a book cannot be published. It is just as well. The Wooing of Eva contains long-winded mental debates between two voices, both belonging to the author. One voice says, "I am just the imagined second voice. You are the real first voice." To this, the other voice replies, "That's just how it turned out. God made me and I made you. I live on this shitty-ass crap-hole of an Earth. You live in the beautiful mental landscapes of my imagination. Each role has its pros and cons." Of course, one understands that nearly 80,000 words of such pointless conversation can appeal to a very limited readership, hopefully numbering exactly zero.
In terms of a literary heritage, The Wooing of Eva is a derivative and redundant version of The Face of Another by Kobo Abé. Both books share an inordinate attention to the detailed mental constructs of an unsteady mind. However, the resemblance ends there. In this work, the author proved able neither to replicate the literary virtues of The Face of Another nor to create his own stylistic elements, worthy of independent recognition.
length: 79,000 words (186 pages in paperback)
Written: December, 1995 to December, 1996 in Minneapolis, MN & Washington, DC.
Status: This novel remains unpublished.
poison pie publishing house catalog number: PP-036-N