Englischsprachige Literatur

Cooley Martha

The Archivist

1998, Backbay Books, New York, 1999


This is a first novel, and an ambitious one, too. Martha Cooley is heavily indebted to Anita Brooknerīs “Possession” and Donna Tartīs “a Secret History”. She may have written her thesis about T.S.Eliot and found recycling her findings by creating a novel might be a good idea.

Matthias, a middle-aged archivist at a university library, meets a young eager and determined student, Roberta, who wants to get access to the letters T.S.Eliot wrote to a long term lady friend. Roberta and Matthias begin a complicated relationship. Robertaīs Jewish familiy history is revealed, Matthiasī difficult and in the end tragic marriage is unfolded -  he broods a lot over his wifeīs suicide -  but not much is gained in arousing the readerīs interest or pleasure of reading.

So she plods on, thinking now and then “ah, thatīs a clever turn in the narrative” or, ”how clumsy” until the end is reached and exhaustion .