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Girl Imagined By Chance

fc2, 2002

A critifiction about a couple who in an unguarded moment create a make-believe daughter (and a make-believe life to accompany her) in order to appease their friends, family, and the culture of reproduction.

“Smart and moving and elegant.”

Shelley Jackson

“Lance olsen has composed a spare parable of representation and self, the loss of the real and the reality of loss. Girl Imagined by Chance is smart and moving and elegant, its seemingly offhand scenes as effortlessly poignant as a handful of old snapshots.”

Shelley Jackson

“Trapped between reproductions and reality and partaking of the consolations and terrors of both, the central couple of Girl Imagined by Chance makes a snap decision that ends up establishing a second, private, unreal life for them. but, Olsen suggests, there is no clean distinction between life and imagination—some of one’s most satisfying moments are those which are the least real to others. A marvelous book that quietly says more about reality and imagination than the much flashier hyperbooks currently in vogue.”

Brian Evenson

“Like the images scattered throughout its pages, Lance Olsen’s extraordinary Girl Imagined by Chance is composed of a cunning series of multi-tonal cubist squares, rectangles, triangles, and quadrangles, shot through with bright white vertical and horizontal thrusts. Olsen’s novel—for which David Markson, Roland Barthes, and Mary Shelley might stand as precursors—is both a treatise on sight and the haunting vagaries of perception and a moving tale of the loss of a girl who has never quite been.”

Laird Hunt

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