Deborah Batterman's, Shoes Hair Nails Review by Kim Rush
Artifacts, Relationships, and Universal Human Value
Joseph Campbell offers, in his interpretation of James Joyce’s concept of proper art, that proper art is a static moment that dissipates one’s ego into that aesthetic enchanting experience. Deborah Batterman achieves this for the audience in her new book of short stories, Shoes Hair Nails.
In a fata morgana effectual story telling structure, Batterman, by an expository, essayistic prose style, carries the reader via the first person female narrative voice through normal, everyday events bound together by simple human artifacts as leitmofifs that also title her stories. These artifacts and perspectives--female in character, as represented by the book’s title, go beyond their simplicity to achieve an universal human value for all readers. The values of love, suffering, desire, and such, are bound together by a masterful median thread of the artifacts themselves--as exemplified in “”Shoes” where a collage of personal connections with shoes quick-steps the reader to the story’s painful ending.
This thread concept works as a foundational connection cord to the tapestry of imagery and human experience expressed in the whole of the book. Batterman, however, adapts the plot structure of each story to enhance each story’s theme. These various patterns of progression move the rising tension in a subtle and unique way to enhance the story, its theme, and movement to the unexpected climax.
With minimal description of the main character of each story, Batterman still presents a main character that the reader perceives through his/her transactional connection to the story, as a well rounded, familiar character.
For the male reader who may be unwilling to go beyond the female title motif, do not fear, for Batterman follows the Aristotelian golden mean—finding the middle between two opposing sides, male, female perspectives, to achieve a fully respected and enjoyed universal human value commonality of human life.
Yuri Lotman said that, “Art is the language of life.” In Licentia Poetica--the freedom of expression of art, the artist is free to express whatever he/she wants in an artistic stylistic form. Batterman joins Lotman’s language of life into her artistic female fiction perspective and gives to her readers an assortment of stories that leave the reader thinking beyond each story’s conclusion. To be successful in this manner, for a writer, is the highest compliment to be given. Batterman offers in her Licentia Poetica a fine story collection achieving Lotman’s and Joyce’s concept of true art.