The Girls Who Saw Everything
The Lacuna Cabal Montreal Young Women’s Book Club is not content simply to read and discuss books. Their process is a little more involved. They once kidnapped Irving Layton and took him for an excursion up a mountain. They attempted to recreate a scene of a nun swinging from a bridge-builder's broken arm in Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion. But when they begin to re-enact the Epic of Gilgamesh, in the early days of the Iraq War, the book begins to enact them instead, sending the Cabalists across the globe and driving the narrators out of their own tale.
Cross-dressing Aline becomes obsessed with the Baghdad Blogger, Anna with dabbling in prostitution, Missy with the ticking of her biological clock, Romy with Emmy, and the striped (yes, striped!) Emmy with the maker of the fitzbot, an ambulatory artificial-intelligence experiment. In the centre of it all are Runner Coghill and her little brother Neil, who are still mourning their sister and who brought to the group the ten priceless cuneiform Gilgamesh stones.
Underlying it all is the tale of telling the tale, the convolutedness and self-consciousness of our delighted narrators, Jennifer and Danielle, as they reconstruct the tangled story - with more than their fair share of asides - to bring us a novel that is cryptographically charming and eruditely engrossing.
The Girls Who Saw Everything presents a bizarre book club like no other, and a story so delightfully allusive to literature that it may very well become a book club favourit itself - though only among the slightly strange.
'A sort of Tristram Shandy for the twenty-first century, Sean Dixon's first novel is an intellectual, sexual, logorrheic, bibliophilic, cryptological, political and archeological rant of the first order. It'll change your idea of what "written in stone" means, and it'll blow your mind too.' - Michael Redhill (Consolation, Martin Sloane)