“The words on this page are not the story”: douleur, torture, imposture du langage dans The Water Cure (2007) de Percival Everett - Université de Bretagne Occidentale Access content directly
Journal Articles TIES, Revue de littérature Textes, Images et Sons Year : 2023

“The words on this page are not the story”: douleur, torture, imposture du langage dans The Water Cure (2007) de Percival Everett

Abstract

In his 2007 novel The Water Cure, Percival Everett introduces a narrator whose multiple identities embody ontological instability and reinforce an aesthetics built on fragments. Ishmael Kidder, aka Estelle Gilliam, frames his narration by questioning the very possibility of identity and identification. Ishmael’s daughter was indeed murdered by a man he then captured in order to keep him in his basement and torture him; the novel however does not provide the reader with closure regarding the question of the man’s guilt, therefore displacing the definition of imposture as one subject impersonating another subject towards the idea that the gesture of assigning any kind of identity is, in itself, an imposture. By switching around the parts of victim and tormentor, and making it obvious that it is contradictory to make the presumed murderer be "forced" to play this very part, Everett’s novel demands that we reconsider what constitutes identity, authenticity, and the possibility for language to express personal pain and political anger in a country where responsibility is a vanishing concept. The real imposture is the one that is foregrounded thanks to the internal organization of The Water Cure: it sets the experiences that are paramount to the process of subject-making at the center of the novel, in order to turn the reader into a witness to their collapse, thanks to a metafictional commentary on the possibilities offered by the lies of fiction.
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Dates and versions

hal-04540389 , version 1 (10-04-2024)

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  • HAL Id : hal-04540389 , version 1

Cite

Christelle Centi. “The words on this page are not the story”: douleur, torture, imposture du langage dans The Water Cure (2007) de Percival Everett. TIES, Revue de littérature Textes, Images et Sons, 2023, Troublantes usurpations, 8. ⟨hal-04540389⟩
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