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Clear, de Nicola Barker : « A Transparent Novel » ?

Abstract : In her 2004 novel Clear, Nicola Barker placed a stunt by the magician and performer David Blaine at the heart of her narrative. Working as a catalyst for the whole novel is the 2003 performance Above the Below, during which Blaine spent 44 days suspended in a perspex box next to the Tower Bridge. Barker’s subtitle, A Transparent Novel, suggests that Blaine’s ambition to achieve transparency provided a programme for the novel. But this first assumption soon proves deceptive : the narrative emphasizes the demise of Blaine’s dream. As hypermediated, late capitalist society systematically overturns his attempts at presenting himself as he is, transparency appears as an inherently paradoxical notion, an equivalent of its opposites – opacity and reflection. Instead of just undermining the idea of transparency, however, the novel invites us to question the conceptual metaphor on which it depends. By critically reading the visual metaphor at the core of our impulse to create meaning, we are meant to escape the postmodernist funhouse, and to think of alternative senses, alternative ways to approach Blaine’s project.
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Diane Leblond. Clear, de Nicola Barker : « A Transparent Novel » ?. Études britanniques contemporaines - Revue de la Société dʼétudes anglaises contemporaines, Presses universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2013, ⟨10.4000/ebc.500⟩. ⟨hal-02947226⟩

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