Tracey Fragments

by M. Medved,
208 pages,
ISBN: 0887846122

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First Novels - Slippery Memory
by Eva Tihanyi

Fifteen-year-old Tracey Berkowitz, the narrator of Maureen Medved's The Tracey Fragments (House of Anansi, 156 pages, $18.95 paper), is struggling in the stressful throes of adolescence. Unlike Thomas, she isn't looking back on her childhood; she is still living it.

Tracey is, in her own words, "just a normal girl who hates herself", "a girl with no tits", and "an emergency". When we meet her, she's wrapped in an old shower curtain and riding a bus in the middle of a snowstorm in search of her ten-year-old brother Sonny, who thinks he's a dog and has gone missing because of Tracey's negligence. If all this sounds a little bizarre, it is, but Medved makes it work. The key is Tracey's voice. It is relentless in its intensity: sharp, self-absorbed, witty, merciless, and completely believable. It not only conveys Tracey's frustration and helplessness-she simply can't change the fact that she's fifteen-but also a particularly female sensibility. (Can you imagine a fifteen-year-old male protagonist describing himself as a "a normal boy who hates himself", "a boy with no balls", etc.? Unlikely.)

Medved, who is a thirty-six-year-old Vancouver playwright, began the novel ten years ago as a dramatic monologue in one of Robert Kroetsch's creative writing workshops and has performed segments from it on stage-performances worth every penny of the admission price, I would venture.


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